What does the term "Osteotomy" mean?

What exactly is an Osteotomy?

Doctor Answers 12

What is an osteotomy?

  Osteotomy means a controlled cut in the nasal bones to reset them in a more natural, and narrow position.  Osteotomies are required after a hump removal.  Osteotomies makes the nasal bones and the upper lateral cartilages (including the entire bridge line) more narrow.  In our practice, we commonly perform medial and low lateral osteotomies to refine the bridge line.  For more information about osteotomies, please see the link and the video below

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 146 reviews

What does the term Osteotomy mean?

The term osteotomy is used to describe a common technique performed during rhinoplasty surgery where you make a controlled break in the bone to allow movement.  Breaking the bone in this fashion is used to narrow the nasal bones, close an open roof, and straighten the nose. Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Osteotomies performed during rhinoplasty surgery may be performed to obtain a narrower nasal appearance.

An osteotomy is a surgical procedure where a piece of bone is cut or removed to achieve a desired result. During rhinoplasty surgery osteotomies may be performed after hump removal to achieve a narrower nasal appearance. Hope this helps. Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 421 reviews


Osteotomy means making a controlled and fine break in the bone to allow the nasal bones to move. The bones are not free floating and completely loose but fractured just enough to allow them to lean over.

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

What does the term "Osteotomy" mean?

Osteotomy is the procedure to break / fracture the bone to control the shape and narrow the nose.  This is common in Rhinoplasty procedures.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

What does the term "Osteotomy" mean?

Osteotomy, is what we commonly refer to as breaking the bones.  The vast majority of times the bone is not actually broken, but cut to accomplish more precision.  This, for example is the way the nasal bones are narrowed. Even when the nasal bones are not particularly wide, sometimes Osteotomy's are done when a large hump is taken down to avoid a flat area on the bridge of the nose that makes it look wide.  I hope you find this information helpful.  

Thomas Hubbard, MD, FACS
Virginia Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

What is an osteotomy

An osteotomy refers to making a controlled bone cut during surgery. It is typically done with a small medical grade chisel.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Osteotomy is simply cutting of bone

Thanks for the question

  • When a bone is divided or cut, it is a surgical "osteo-tomy"    from Greek to "divide or cut"
  • This is completed in the upper third of the nose (where you can pinch the hard bone of your nose)
  • The small cuts in the bone are made under the skin by making small incisions inside the nostrils most of the time. 

Best wishes 

Travis T. Tollefson, MD, MPH
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Rhinoplasty and technical terms: osteotomy

Rhinoplasty is a surgery to improve the shape of the nose for breathing or appearance.

Osteotomy is a technique in which controlled cuts are made into the bone so it can be shaped. In rhinoplasty this technique is used to narrow the nasal bones, close an open roof, and straight crooked bones. It also increases the chance of bruising under the eyes. 

Although frequently performed, osteotomies are not necessary in every rhinoplasty. It may be something that your surgeon decides during surgery. Afterward you will need to be cautious about putting pressure on the bridge of your nose. Ask your surgeon for specific instructions. Safety comes first.

Victor Chung, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews


An osteotomy is a procedure in which the nasal bones are purposely fractured in order to reposition the nasal bones.  Often this is done during a rhinoplasty to decrease the width of the nose or to straighten a deviated nose.  

Adam Bryce Weinfeld, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 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.