Will a Rhinoplasty Alleviate Breathing Problems and Possibly Migraines? (photo)

I've wanted to have my nose done for a long time,not just because of how it looks. I believe that the inner workings of my nose are behind my issues - constant, painful headaches/migraine. I'd rate them 9-10/10 on the pain scale, usually in the front of my head, around the sinuses -Mouthbreathing!My dentist/hygienist always say my mouthbreathing causes shifting of teeth/dry gums,which have caused many problems I smashed my nose pretty good a few times when I was younger, not sure if I broke it

Doctor Answers 12

Rhinoplasty will not alleviate breathing problems

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A rhinoplasty will not alleviate breathing problems or migraine headaches.  The rhinoplasty operation is performed to improve cosmetic appearance of the nose.  Breathing problems are best treated by identifying issues such as a deviated septum, or inflammation of the turbinates, or any dynamic valve collapse that could occur upon inspiration.  Headaches are best addressed by obtaining a CAT scan of the paranasal sinuses looking for chronic sinus infections and/or polyps located inside the sinuses.  This is the most likely culprit for facial headaches.  Cosmetic, breathing, and functional sinus surgery can all be performed at the same time if the patient requests to do so.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Rhinoplasty for Breathing Problems and Migraines

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A septo-rhinoplasty will improve nasal breathing and decrease the occurrence and severity of headaches if they are associated sinus congestion. True migraines probably will not be significantly improved. In addition to the cosmetic changes you need a physical examination and possibly x-rays to determine the cause of your functional problems.

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

Rhinoplasty (Nose Job) May well Improve your Breathing

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A well done nose examination will tell how much nose airway compromise exists and will suggest which internal airway improvement procedures may be needed to help you breath. From straightening a deviated septum (septoplasty), reducing enlarged turbinates or increasing the top airflow with spreader cartilage grafts; if indicated any r all of these will make your breathing better. You need to be examined by a good nose Plastic surgeon. 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Migraines and rhinoplasty

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Migraines will not improve with rhinoplasty, you should be evaluated by a neurologist for your Migraines.

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

Will a Rhinoplasty Alleviate Breathing Problems and Possibly Migraines? (photo)

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It is a very slim possibility these issue could improve. But a full neurology work up is in order before thinking about a rhinoplasty. 

Will rhinoplasty alleviate breathing problems and migraine?.

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Nasal breathing problems can be due to nasal septal and  sinus disease. They may also act as migraine triggers. Correcting these may help with both these issues.   Rhinoplasty for cosmetic purposes can be performed at the same setting if desired, but the rhinoplasty itself will not treat these issues.

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

Rhinoplasty for breathing issues

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It is possible for rhinoplasty to address breathing issues to improve or restore the airway, and leave no visible external changes to the nose. If you are concerned about how your nose looks, cosmetic rhinoplasty can be combined. The relationship to migraines is a thin one, and your focus should be on appearance and airway. Insurance is unlikely to help you change the way you look.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Migraines

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The septum (which is in the middle) can have a spur (a spiked out section) that is so large that it completely crosses the air passage part of your nose, embedding itself into the sidewall.  The result of this may be severe and persistent headaches.  This is far from being the most common cause of headaches, however, it is common enough to consider.  This type of headache may get worse with conditions that cause swelling in your nose like colds and allergies.  A proper exam of your nose in the office can rule it out immediately if no spur is present.  If a spur is present and pressing against the sidewall, the possibility exists that it is the source of your headaches.  If numbing the inside of your nose alleviates the headache, it is highly likely that it is the cause.  However, if the headache doesn't go away with numbing, that doesn't rule-out the spur as the culprit.  Surgical removal of the spur would be the only true way to rule it out as the cause.  The headache would be immediately "cured" by surgical removal of the spur if indeed it were the culprit.  I have "cured" about a dozen patients of these headaches in my career.  Curiously, several of those patients never reported the headache issue prior to surgery, had no expectation of the surgery fixing the headaches, and were surprised afterward when they no longer had headaches. 

A septoplasty would potentially improve the airway if an obstructive deviation or spur were present.  Not all spurs and deviations result in airway obstruction.  A turbinate reduction is also a very good way to improve the airway and often times is more important than the septoplasty.  Turbinates are outcroppings from the sidewall of the inside of your nose and have a large capacity to swell and shrink.  They are the primary cause of obstruction that comes and goes with such things as colds, allergies, and position (laying down vs being upright, even laying on the left vs right).  A turbinate reduction will not stop them from fluctuating, but at any given degree of swelling, they will be smaller than they would otherwise have been.

Rhinoplasty is a surgery that alters the appearance of your nose.  Typically a rhinoplasty alone would have no affect on your breathing.  I say "typically" because there are situations where it could improve or worsen the airway.

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Breathing Problems

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Rhinoplasty and septoplasty surgeries are often combined to improve the appearance and function of the nose. If there is an airway obstruction diagnosed, it is likely that there are surgical procedures that can be performed to improve nasal patency. The appearance of the nose can be corrected through a rhinoplasty surgery at the same time. It is unlikely, however, that this will have an impact on your migraines unless there is some relationship between the migrane and a lack of oxygen. However, mouth breathing would likely easily correct this. Seek additional opinions about the migraine treatment, but surgery can usually improve the shape and function of your nose. 

Best of luck,

Vincent Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Rhinoplasty for breathing improvement.

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Yes, a rhinoplasty can open an airway but you need a ct of your sinuses first to find out why you are having pain. The cosmetic issues of your nose can be done at the same time.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 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.