In the more than twenty-five years that I have been a practicing board certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist specializing in procedures of the face, I have noticed that most people tend to associate facial plastic surgery with the various cosmetic procedures that subtly minimize the effects of facial aging or improve overall facial balance and aesthetics. It can sometimes be easy to overlook the fact that the most prominent organs of the face, like the nose and ears, also serve important functional purposes and that special care needs to be taken during cosmetic facial plastic surgery procedures to preserve those functions and keep everything working smoothly. This is particularly true in cases of rhinoplasty, surgery to correct the size, shape, or functionality of the nose. Although rhinoplasty can achieve significant cosmetic improvements, it is perhaps most useful when it improves air flow that may have been impacted by congenital defect, disease, trauma, or a previous rhinoplasty procedure.
One possible cause of airway obstruction in adults is a cleft lip nasal deformity. Cleft lips or cleft palates occur when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly during pregnancy, and although they are usually corrected surgically within the first few months of life they can often have a long-lasting impact. Specifically, a separation of the lip or palate can cause the nose to look widened and flattened because the cartilage is displaced. More importantly, the nasal septum, a structure within the nose that separates the left and right nostrils, can frequently be misaligned, which can affect breathing and cause congestion problems. The nasal airway can also be affected by various diseases that occur later in life. For example, severe cases of rosacea may potentially result in the development of rhinophyma, a rare skin disorder characterized by a large, red, bumpy nose. The inflammation caused by this condition can often constrict the airway and make breathing more difficult. Fortunately, these difficulties can be addressed and corrected through the use of cleft nasal reconstruction procedures, which can create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance while improving airflow and making breathing easier.
Over the years, I have also helped many patients who have started to experience breathing troubles after a previous cosmetic rhinoplasty procedure performed by another surgeon. In a published article on airway obstruction after rhinoplasty1, I outline a variety of surgical techniques that, when properly applied during revision rhinoplasty, can enhance the overall aesthetic results while preserving or improving nasal airway patency. Years of experience performing facial plastic surgery, and specifically repairing and restructuring the nasal bones and cartilage, has given me a keen insight into facial anatomy and development that allows me to consistently achieve exceptional rhinoplasty results. If you have questions about rhinoplasty, or are interested in learning more about any of the pediatric, reconstructive, or cosmetic plastic surgery procedures that I perform, I would welcome you to contact my Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. office and schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.
- Burstein, FD.: Airway Obstruction After Rhinoplasty: Prevention and Correction. Maxillofacial News. 2006 July; 21(1):10-11.