Reconstructive Rhinoplasty for a Student?

I've had breathing difficulties due to tight and swollen nasal passages for as long as I can remember. I used to have nosebleeds, but treated them with steroids from the age of 14. My doctor told me I'm growing immune to the medicine and may have to think about Rhinoplasty.

For a full time student, is it going to be worth it? I've had surgery before, I don't know if I'd like to go through it again. So, any thoughts on whether I should go for it or not? My breathing problems with it are quite bad. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 6

Rhinoplasty is done for cosmetic purposes & has no effect on breathing

It sounds as though you need a septoplasty, not a rhinoplasty. A rhinoplasty is performed for cosmetic purposes and has no effect on breathing. A septoplasty is done to straighten out misaligned cartilage and bone on the inside of the nose that obstruct nasal passageway. The interior turbinates are usually addressed at the same time, if needed. Rhinoplasty is to change the shape for cosmetic purposes and will have no effect on the breathing. Make sure your allergies are also under control with nasal steroids and antihistamines.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Rhinoplasty is (usually) cosmetic, not functional.

While there are reasons to reshape the external aspects of the nose to improve nasal breathing, a rhinoplasty is primarily used for improving appearance not function. Your description of your problems suggests that a rhinoplasty is unnecessary.

Turbinate hypertrophy, nasal polyps, and a deviated septum are all likely contributors to nasal congestion and obstruction. Such problems are treated surgically without a rhinoplasty. Nasal valve collapse can require a rhinoplasty approach for placement of spreader grafts, etc., but this is unlikely by your description.

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

If you have vasomotor rhinitis, rhinoplasty surgery may not help you

You need a careful nasal exam by an expert in nasal function. Most commonly this will be an ENT surgeon who is not a cosmetic plastic surgeon.

It sounds as though you may have vasomotor rhinitis and improper rhinoplasty surgery could make you worse.

You need a carefiul exam to see if you have septal or turbinate structural problems which are contributing to your nasal breathing disturbance.

These problems can be addressed through endoscopic surgery which does not require Rhinoplasty which alters the bony striucture and can reduce your airway.

Rhinoplasty surgery may improve both the function and appearance of your nose.

You should consult a qualified, ENT specialist for your chronic nasal blockage. You may not even need to have surgery, especially if you're happy with the appearance of your nose. In-office, turbinate reduction procedures can be performed with local anesthetic, and may improve your breathing.

I hope this is helpful.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 418 reviews

Reconstructive Rhinoplasty for a student


Truly hard to answer your question without examining you and your records, especially the operative report of your last surgery. After all, if that operation failed, did it fail because it was the wrong operation? because your condition(s) worsened? etc.

Usually, nasal obstructions can be due to one or many factors. Steroids are used in allergic condition to reduce swelling of the inferior turbinates - BUT you would think that if your first operation was for this condition, the first therapeutic Target would logically have been the turbinates / septum.

I would suggest you get more than one opinion before having your procedure or deciding against it and go to those visit with your old operative note for the surgeons to review.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

See an ENT doctor to make sure there is no underlying problem.

 He can evaluate whether you need septal or turbinate surgery to improve your breathing. Often, the turbinates are the problem due to allergies, stress, etc.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 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.