Some patients ask if a rhinoplasty procedure is functional or aesthetic. Some parts of a procedure are clearly aesthetic while other portions are more functional, while other portions of a rhinoplasty may have a component of both involved.
Aesthetic Only Portions of a Rhinoplasty
When patients request a smaller nasal tip, this is typically considered aesthetic. In addition, alar base reduction and nasal hump reduction are primarily changing the shape of the nose for improvement in “looks” of the nose. Other procedures which can be considered appearance based include projecting a nose, reducing projection in a nose, lifting a nasal tip up or lengthening a nose, and dorsal augmentation.
Functional Only Portions of a Rhinoplasty
Functional only portions of a rhinoplasty include portions of the procedure that help with the breathing or can include repairing the nose after trauma. An example of a functional portion of a rhinoplasty can be supporting the nasal valves (internal and external), straightening a nasal septum, repairing a septal perforation, and repairing a nasal fracture.
Functional and Aesthetic Portions of a Rhinoplasty
In some cases, there are “gray” areas of which have a component of aesthetics as well as functional ramifications. For example, nasal pinching from previous rhinoplasty will often have both functional and aesthetic consequences. The repair of pinching with cartilaginous grafting can be considered both functional and aesthetic. Furthermore, a crooked nose may require disassembly of the nose and reconstruction to create a straighter profile. This type of rhinoplasty will have both elements of form and function involved.
A common question for some patients is should I do a functional rhinoplasty first (or septoplasty) or should I do both procedures together. It is clear that for patients having both procedures performed at the same time by a surgeon facile in both the form as well as the function of the nose to be the ideal scenario.