Non-Cosmetic Reasons to Get Rhinoplasty

The nose job – or rhinoplasty in medical terms – has a reputation as a cosmetic treatment used by those who are unhappy with the natural appearance of their nose, and while that’s a perfectly valid basis for the procedure, there are some who have medical reasons behind their choice. The nose isn’t there only for appearances, it has a job to do, and when it’s not fully functional, rhinoplasty may be the surgical procedure necessary to regain proper function. Because I’m dual-certified in both otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, I’m uniquely qualified to address both the cosmetic and functional concerns patients may want to resolve with a rhinoplasty. Let’s discuss some of the medical reasons for having a nose job.

Sinus issues

Chronic breathing issues affecting the sinuses may result from anatomical problems or defects. One common cause is a deviated nasal septum. The procedure to correct these defects is known as a functional rhinoplasty. It may or may not be combined with cosmetic enhancement, however, the target of a functional procedure is typically the nasal valves, the valves inside the nose, made of cartilage. Yours could be congenitally narrow, or they may start to collapse as you get older. Even if cosmetic steps aren’t taken during surgery, some change to your nose profile will likely occur.

Cleft lip or palate

Cleft lips and cleft palates are common birth defects that often affect the construction of the nose and sinuses. In some cases, rhinoplasty can repair some of the structural issues that result from these conditions. When tissue of the nose is involved, correcting it is part of the overall treatment, rather than an added surgical process, given the way that tissue in this part of the face interacts. Called primary rhinoplasty, surgery performed due to cleft lip or palate conditions focus both on function and cosmetics, to create a working, attractive nose.

Damage repair

Traumatic injury can damage both the appearance and function of your nose. Broken noses are one of the most common facial fractures, whether from sports participation or due to an event such as a car accident. This type of damage can create chronic breathing issues, and may also lead to persistent sinus infections, which can sap your energy and cause headaches. Damage can even affect your sense of smell. Since sinus issues generally increase with age, uncorrected damage may needlessly aggravate your sinus conditions. Nose job surgery can restore function and reduce any deformity you may have.


Some brain tumor surgery requires access through the nose to remove a malignant or benign tumor when it grows to be a size that interferes with surrounding organs and tissue. Endoscopic surgery for tumors often goes through the nose. When tumor surgery causes damage, rhinoplasty addresses both nose function and appearance.

Other reasons

Rhinoplasty is frequently needed after severe facial burns, as part of the overall reconstruction of the face. Some snoring and sleep apnea conditions may also see improvement after rhinoplasty.

It’s easy to see a nose job as something beyond simply a cosmetic treatment. If you have chronic breathing issues, it may be worth investigating whether surgery is an option. Call my office today for a consultation.

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Raymund J. Llaurado, MD
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