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Rhinoplasty Surgery Can Help Breathing Problems

woman with bandage on nose
By Robert Kotler, MD, FACSJuly 27, 2009
From the WebMD Archives

I am always amazed at how many patients present for cosmetic nasal surgery or rhinoplasty who, upon examination, show evidence of breathing difficulties. It is important to ascertain that because the best chance to correct that difficulty is at the time of the cosmetic nasal surgery.

The most common cause is a deviated nasal septum. This internal partition between the right and left nasal passage may be crooked on both sides, therefore, impinging the airflow. Of course, some patients who have had this all their life have no frame of reference. They do not know what “normal” breathing is. The fact is, it can be helped and it is a practical operation done at the same time as the rhinoplasty. Correction of deviated nasal septum and reduction of enlarged turbinates, opens the air passages such that the equivalent improvement is that of going from a two-lane highway to a four-lane highway. The recovery time is only a day or two longer when one combines the breathing operation with rhinoplasty.

Depending on health insurance coverage there may be benefits for the correction of the breathing problem. Insurance does not cover cosmetic nasal surgery. If you have sinusitis or repeated upper respiratory infections and difficulties because of the deviated nasal septum and enlarged turbinates, insurance benefits apply. Even patients with nasal allergy are helped by this procedure since by opening the airway, even though there may be some swelling during the allergic season or allergic exposure, there is lots of extra room in there for the air to go through.

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