Blog Downtown Los Angeles

What is a septoplasty and how is it different from a rhinoplasty?

by Dr. Ahmed Maki on Dec 11th, 2017

During my visits with patients, I often get asked what is the difference between a septoplasty and a rhinoplasty? Basically, a septoplasty addresses the inside of the nose and is mainly a functional procedure. A rhinoplasty is done to address the outside of the nose and change the cosmetic appearance.

The inside of the nose is very complex and there are multiple structures that can block airflow. However, in most patients with breathing difficulties, the primary issue is related to the nasal septum. The septum is a cartilaginous structure that ideally sits in the middle of the inside of the nose helping separate the two sides. If that septum is deviated to one side or the other it will affect the normal laminar air flow of the nose which should be equal on both sides. A septoplasty addresses this deviated septum issue by removing the portions of the septum that are blocking the airway but still maintaining the normal portions of the septum. Doing this will allow restoration of equal airflow to the nose and correct any breathing difficulties which may have once been present. Of course, a septoplasty can always be combined with a rhinoplasty to address both the inside and the outside of the nose.

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