During Closed Approach, Will the Scar Tissue Just Develop in the Vestibular Skin?

With a closed apporach, an incision is only made inside the nostril underneath the cartilage. After closing this incision, will scar tissue develop only in this vestibular skin or also in the skin overlying the lower lateral cartilage?

Doctor Answers 9

Scarring after Rhinoplasty

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You are correct.  When using the “closed” endonasal approach, the external incisions are placed along the mucosal surfaces inside of the nose.  Consequently, any visible external scars are also located inside the nose. 

The various steps performed during rhinoplasty, dissection of muscles, soft tissue elevation, cartilage recontouring will also all lead to development of scar tissue.  This internal scar tissue can lead to irregularities which can sometimes be identifiable underneath the skin.    

Of the countless variables encountered during this challenging procedure, unacceptable external scarring is one of the easiest to control.  Even with an open-approach, where incisions are made of the surface of the skin, proper closure should lead to a scar which is virtually imperceptible at speaking distance.  Internal scarring is a challenge confronted in both endonasal and open-approach rhinoplasty, and is much more difficult to predict and treat.

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Scar tissue after closed rhinoplasty

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The incisions for the closed approach are the same as an open approach with the only exception being the columellar incision.  With the closed approach there is still undermining of the entire nasal framework just like in the open rhinoplasty.  Scar tissue will develop underneath the entire nasal cartilage and bone where it was undermined.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Do not worry about scar tissue with closed rhinoplasty.

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Hi Ameliabeau;

Closed rhinoplasty implies that all the incisions are made within the nose.  Actual scarring, like a keloid or thick scar, does not exist inside the nose.  Often, what is called "scarring" is actually over-tightening of the cartilage and, therefore, the internal nasal valve becomes narrow.  But, that is not because of scar tissue, per se.  It is generally because too much cartilage was taken out, and the remaining cartilage is drawn together, therefore, diminishing the radius of the internal opening.

If you are trying to decide between having a nose operation "opened" or "closed," I would tell you that decision is less important than the skill, experience, and degree of specialization of the rhinoplasty surgeon.  Many excellent and experienced surgeons can perform the entire operation through the inside of the nose.  On the other hand, many expert, experienced, and specialized surgeons excel at performing it externally, creating a scar that is barely visible. 

The most important thing for you is ifthe overall aims can be achieved.  At consultation, be sure to inquire about computer imaging, so that you can see the predicted result of the procedure as suggested by the surgeon, and achievable by the surgeon.

Robert Kotler, MD, FACS
Facial Plastic Surgeon

Robert Kotler, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Scar from Rhinoplasty

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With a closed approace, the scar from a closed rhinoplasty will be only in the vestibular skin inside the nose

Scar only in the vestibule?

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If you are referring to the idea of scar tissue affecting the rhinoplasty result this concept does not necessarily apply to the incision. The rhinoplasty procedure involves separating the skin from the underlying cartilage and bone to reshape it and then having the skin conform to the new shape. It is this skin lifting and dissection that creates the potential for "scar tissue" to affect the result, not the incision itself. Having said that, the use of endonasal incisions only can sometimes allow less dissection to take place and thus decrease the risk of scar tissue issues. Many who use this approach primarily would argue it's superiority because of this. 

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews


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Everything else being equal the actual amount of scar formation is not that different between open and closed rhinoplasty.

Although the opening in the external surface tissue is slightly different all of the dissection or separation of tissue layers deep to the surface is the same. Most of the scar tissue that arises is formed in these areas of tissue plane separation. The same applies to breast implants where most of the scar is really around the implant.

I hope you realize that this format of posting questions and receiving answers lacks the face to face direct communication required for you to make an informed decision regarding your surgery.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon


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By defination all cuts heal with scar tissue. Some are better than others. Dropping down of the incision requiring repair can happen. Otherwise the closed approach is almost aleays scat invisable

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

Scar tissue and rhinoplasty

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Anywhere an incision is placed, there will be some scar tissue development.  It is best to close incisions in most areas to limit scarring.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Scar Tissue Formation with Closed Rhinoplasty

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With rhinoplasty surgery scar tissue can form anyplace the nasal tissues are interrupted or elevated. The only additional incision with the open technique is the small incision in the columellar skin. Swelling may be a little more severe with the open technique.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.