I'm Not Sure What to Do For My Breathing Problems- Septoplasty or Rhinoplasty?

A year and half ago I got mugged in Albany and I was left with a broken jaw and nose. My plastic surgeon treated the jaw first because it was of more importance. My nose was not realigned because I wouldn't have been able to breathe. As time has passed though I have found it very hard to breathe and extremely frustrating. I went to the ENT and was proscribed Flonase which doesn't really help. It's little crooked, I'm not sure whether to have just Septoplasty or Rhinoplasty with it.

Doctor Answers 12

Breathing problems may need both a septoplasty and rhinoplasty

Hello Dave,

Thank you for the question and the photo.  Sorry to hear about your mugging ordeal.  A septoplasty corrects the shape and direction of your septum which may improve airflow and breathing.  A rhinoplasty can help correct the outer and inner nasal valve issues if any which will also help with breathing.  Chances are you will need both but exactly what would be best for you will require and evaluation of your breathing status.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 133 reviews

Septoplasty or rhinoplasty for breathing problems

A septoplasty is performed to fix a deviated septum.  The internal portion of the nose, known as the septum, could also be fractured and may need to be addressed.  If the external portion of the nose is crooked, then open reduction of a nasal fracture is considered.  Both of these procedures could be done at the same time.  A rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure not covered by medical insurance.  The rhinoplasty will not improve the patients breathing apparatus.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Septoplasty or Rhinoplasty For Breathing Problems

Thank you for your question, Dave. Your exam findings and your goals for surgery will influence which procedure may be preferable in your case. Septoplasty is undertaken to improve the structural component of nasal airway obstruction due to the nasal septum itself. If the septum is a primary contributor to one's nasal obstruction, then septoplasty can substantially improve nasal breathing. However, septoplasty alone rarely changes nasal appearance and will not likely improve the crookedness that you note. Septorhinoplasty is typically undertaken to improve nasal breathing and/or appearance. Septorhinoplasty may be able to address any non-septal structural factors which may contribute to nasal airway obstruction. For assistance making this decision, consider seeing a board-certified facial plastic surgeon, otolaryngologist (ENT) or plastic surgeon. Good luck.

James M. Pearson, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Septoplasty versus Septo-rhinoplasty for breathing problems

A consultation with a rhinoplasty specialist who fully understand the nose would be helpful at this stage. A septoplasty could help to open up the internal nasal cavity and improve airflow. If you have an untreated nasal fracture a rhinoplasty could also be done at the same time to straighten the outside of the nose as well.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Septoplasty or Rhinoplasty

As you know a septoplasty will improve your nasal function, but have a septorinoplasty if you also want to improve the appearance of your nose. You should consider the rhinoplasty if you want to keep the pretty lady who is with you.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Setorhinoplasty is probably what u need.

A septorhinoplasty is probably what u need. See an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon for the best results.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Breathing post-trauma

A good exam will help you with yoru decision, but always remember that rhino/septo surgery may not always improve air flow.  If your flow was OK before your injury it will likely be better after correction.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Post- Trauma Breathing Difficulty

It sounds like when you had your nose broken, the underlying structures were affected, making it difficult for you to breathe through your nose.  You will need a thorough evaluation of the underlying anatomy of your nose to determine what needs to be done to improve your nasal breathing.

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

For difficulty breathing Do I need a Rhinoplasty or Septoplasty

You would need an examination to make a definitive answer. Your photo reveals that your nose is not straight and with your history of trauma you may well need a rhinoplasty and septal work to optimize the final result.

Jay M. Pensler, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Rhinoplasty and your Breathing

In select patients, a rhinoplasty may be necessary to fix a breathing issue.  However, most patients will not experience a breathing benefit from rhinoplasty.  Rhinoplasty is, of course, the only thing that would correct the external appearance of your nose.  

In your case, I suspect you have suffered damage to your septum and possibly the sidewalls of your nose resulting in both appearance and breathing issues.  I also suggest that you have your turbinates examined and consider surgically reducing them.  Even if the turbinate are no different as a result of your recent accident, reducing their size can have a dramatic impact on breathing, compensating for some other issue that may be harder to correct. 

Of course you situation is unique and a best plan can only be achieved after a thorough exam by a surgeon who is very comfortable with both the functional and cosmetic aspects of a nose.

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.