There are two common types of rhinoplasty surgery: functional and cosmetic.
When the primary purpose of the rhinoplasty is to shape the exterior of the nose it is often referred to as a cosmetic rhinoplasty, whereas a functional rhinoplasty is typically focused on shaping the interior passageways of the nose as well as the exterior to help improve breathing.
For Jeffrey J. Lehman, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified otolaryngologist at The Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastic Surgery Associates, a majority of the cases he performs are functional rhinoplasties.
“A functional rhinoplasty addresses the nasal function or breathing,” explains Dr. Lehman. “That is often combined with a septoplasty as well, which corrects the wall that divides the nose into two halves internally.” Although the expressed goal of a rhinoplasty is to correct breathing issues, patients usually experience positive cosmetic benefits as a bonus.
“A functional septorhinoplasty can certainly positively affect the way the nose looks, but our primary reason for doing it is because of a severe enough external nasal deformity that significantly affects function,” Dr. Lehman says.