Rhinoplasty vs. Septoplasty
A rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure and a septoplasty is a functional procedure to make you breathe better. Some patients who experience a chronic inability to breathe well through their nose will come to a surgeon like myself and want to breathe better. But at the same time, they’ll want to do something cosmetically. So yes, we can do both. And as a facial plastic surgeon, board certified in facial plastic reconstructive surgery, my goal is to make your nose work as well as to look better.
Now, the nose heats the air, the nose humidifies, the air and the nose filters the air, and the mouth doesn’t do any of that. So it’s important to be able to breathe well, as well as to look better. That procedure we do under general anesthesia. Typically you’ll go to sleep for about one hour. There are some mild black and blues if we’re doing a cosmetic procedure. If we’re just doing the inside and making you breath better, there’s no black and blues whatsoever.
If we do something cosmetic, you’ll have a little cast on your nose that sits over here. The cast is removed typically after a week. Pain level is not bad at all. Typically it’s about a level 4 out of 10 without any pain reliever. And once we give you a little bit of pain reliever, which you typically shouldn’t use more than a day or two, it goes right down to a 1 or 2.
In a balloon sinuplasty, we’re expanding the entranceway to the sinus. And the main sinuses that we do, we do in the office in terms of using the balloon. The way you get sinusitis is you get a narrowing or constriction in the sinus itself.
Without doing any formal surgery, if we can get some air into the sinus, then we can allow it to breathe better. The way you get sinusitis is is that you have a lack of oxygen in the sinuses here and typically that’s due to our narrowed opening. The sinus gets a little bit swollen. You get a lack of oxygen – that’s a perfect medium for bacteria to grow – and then you require antibiotics.
Now in some patients, they get repeated infections. Subsequently, you go to your ear, nose and throat doctor – like myself – and we determine that you have in fact recurrent and repeated sinusitis. So then in the office, we pass a little catheter that we then expand – that’s the balloon part. When we expand it, it makes tiny little what we call micro-fractures. So now we’ve taken this little tiny opening. We’ve now expanded it by opening the balloon, right? We only leave it in there five seconds and we remove it. Now the sinus can aerate with the rest of the world, through the nose.
Patients have virtually no pain, minimal amount of bleeding, and typically in those select patients, those patients who would benefit from it, they get almost immediate improvement. I think that’s something that you can check out, go see your ear, nose and throat doctor, and see if you’re a candidate for balloon sinuplasty.