Can a nose job fix breathing problems? (photos)

My nose feels stuffy on one side all the time despite not having a cold. When I look inside my nose it seems to be uneven on one side. Could this be causing the stuffy feeling and wheezing sound when I breathe? Also, would insurance cover this procedure?

Doctor Answers 18

Patients must first try medications to see if they improve breathing before surgery.

Yes, if you have anatomical blockage in your nose causing nasal obstruction, then surgery to correct this may be covered under your insurance. Patients must first try medications to see if they improve breathing before surgery.

if you have a deviated septum causing breathing problems, a septoplasty could help alleviate those problems. Enlarge turbinates or narrowed nasal valves are other causes of nasal obstruction that can be fix surgically. I hope this helps.

Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

A nose job to improve breathing problems

Yes, a nose job (rhinoplasty) can improve nasal breathing problems. A deviated septum or swollen turbinates are the most common conditions that contribute to nasal blockage. Insurance, however, generally does not cover procedures that alter the shape of the nose. If you haven't already, then speak with a rhinoplasty surgeon to review options.

Dr. Chaboki

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

You might be suffering from a deviated septum and enlarged turbinates.

Hello, Kbratx3:

I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with what could be a deviated septum and difficulty breathing and wheezing when you breathe. You may also be suffering from enlarged turbinates.

Suffering from excessive mucus, a runny nose and nasal congestion and/or blockage can be very debilitating and frustrating.

Septoplasty and the reduction of turbinates are two procedures generally performed at the same time. When performing a septoplasty, it addresses the asymmetry between the septum (your two nostrils). The goal is to correct the misshapen nasal cavity so you no longer suffer from a deviated septum.

When addressing inflamed and persistently enlarged turbinates, the surgical goal is to reduce the size of the nasal turbinates. This would allow your nose to breathe clean air before it reaches your lungs. When turbinates become inflamed on a persistent basis this can cause blockage of your nasal passages and create nasal drip.

I have treated many patients that suffer from the conditions you describe and I want to offer you hope that there can be a solution to your condition. While, I have not consulted with you and I am only examining your photos and the description of your symptoms, there are options that are available to you to help improve the quality of your breathing. 

I would encourage you to research Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeons that specialize in correcting deviated septums and turbinate reduction. This is an outpatient procedure that generally last around 1 hour. Board certification matters and you will get a better result based on the experience of the surgeon you select. I always advise my patients to research their options and go on a few consults and find a rhinoplasty surgeon that has a unified vision that aligns with yours. This will help to address your breathing issues and give you the results you desire.

I wish you the best and am hopeful you are able to find some relief to the breathing difficulties you describe. 


Philip J. Miller, MD, FACS

Philip J. Miller, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

It is very possible

It is very possible that you have either a deviated nasal septum or an internal valve issue causing difficulty breathing. Rhinoplasty is really just a medical term that has to do with fixing or reshaping of the nose. It can be a cosmetic issue or strictly a functional breathing issue. Many of my patients, as a rhinoplasty specialist, do have breathing issues that do have to be addressed at the time of rhinoplasty. Naturally, this is a very important part of the procedure. This and many other questions can be found in our book Rhinoplasty: Everything You Need to Know About Fixing and Reshaping your Nose, available on Amazon. I wish you the very best of luck in your research.

Edwin F. Williams, III, MD
Latham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Can a nose job fix breathing problems?

Dear Reader,
Thank you for your question.  Yes, nose surgery can fix breathing problems.  In this case if you have difficulty breathing and you are not concerned with the cosmetic appearance of the outside of your nose, this procedure would be to correct a possible deviated septum.  This is where the inside nostril is obstructed partially or fully by the septum inside your nose causing restricted air flow. 

You can schedule an appointment with a Plastic or Cosmetic Surgeon near your home for an evaluation to see if correction is needed.  

Best of Luck!

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Functional nasal surgery for breathing, rhinoplasty for cosmetic changes

 There are many issues inside the nose  that can cause breathing difficulties, such as valve collapse, vestibular stenosis, a deviated nasal septum, turbinate hypertrophy, allergies, and chronic sinusitis. Each one of these issues are treated differently with medications and/or surgery. It's important to fail medical management first, before undergoing surgical manipulation of the nasal passageways. Functional nasal surgery can be billed to the patient's medical insurance, once medical necessity has been documented. Functional nasal surgery will not change the shape of the nose. A rhinoplasty procedure is performed for cosmetic surgery to improve/ change the look of the nose and must be paid for by the patient themselves. Both functional and cosmetic surgery on the nose can be performed at the same time under one anesthesia, but they're two totally separate procedures. For more information describing the differences between functional and cosmetic surgery on the nose, please see the link and the video below

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Nose Job to Fix Breathing Problems

Nose job to fix breathing problems. The goal of a rhinoplasty by an experienced specialist is to improve the appearance and correct any breathing problems. Insurance companies typically pay for the correction of functional problems up to the limits of each policy.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Septorhinoplasty for a straight and better breathing nose.

Septorhinoplasty for a straight and better breathing nose. Yes this will correct your septal deviation and is covered by insurance. See a very experienced rhinoplasty surgeon for the best results.

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

Rhinoplasty should improve breathing, not make it worse

Positional issues with the nose can be just as important, if not more important than septal deviations in breathing problems. In a well performed rhinoplasty, removal of material is balanced with structural replacement, creating symmetry, strength and longevity to the result. In making these types of interventions, breathing is often enhanced after reductive Rhinoplasty surgery. From your photos, it appears that you have deviation to the bony bridge, nasal valve collapse on both sides of your nose, as well as a deviated septum. A functional improvement should be possible through comprehensive nasal surgery, rather than septoplasty alone.

Richard W. Westreich, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Rhinoplasty and improved breathing

I believe that improving the shape of the nose should improve the function of the nose.

Nasal obstruction is a functional problem that can be caused by many structural or anatomic reasons. Improving structure requires surgery. Seek out an expert, who can walk you through the process. Both general and facial plastic surgeons perform rhinoplasty. Facial plastic surgeons are also trained to rule out sinus problems and identify allergy symptoms. It's important to make sure medical issues like allergies are addressed.

Most health insurance carriers cover many of the functional aspects of the surgery. It may require a preauthorization process, which can take weeks.

Victor Chung, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.