In life, it often seems as though you have to choose either form or function. If you want the sports car that looks impressive, you have to give up the idea of getting decent gas mileage. If you pick the fuel-efficient hybrid, you’re sacrificing something when it comes to the car’s looks and “cool factor.”
The same doesn’t hold true when it comes to rhinoplasty and sinus surgery. If you have trouble your sinuses or difficulty breathing, and you aren’t happy with your nose’s appearance, you don’t have to choose to correct one for the sake of the other. It is possible to improve the function and form of your nose, often by combining rhinoplasty with sinus surgery.
Is Rhinoplasty and Sinus Surgery Right For You?
Before you decide to undergo rhinoplasty and sinsus surgery together, it’s important to determine if you have a chronic sinus problem. Chronic sinusitis affects about one out of every eight people, making it a fairly common, and unpleasant, problem.
How do you know if you have a chronic sinus problem versus the common cold or an acute infection? One way to tell is how long the problem lasts. If you experience symptoms such as a stuffy nose, facial pressure and thick, colored mucus for 12 weeks or longer, you are likely dealing with a chronic sinus infection. When sinusitis is chronic, it typically doesn’t respond to antibiotics or other non-surgical treatments. The discomfort and symptoms are usually due to inflammation, rather than a bacterial or viral infection.
If you do suffer from chronic sinusitis but are otherwise happy with the way your nose looks, combining sinus surgery and rhinoplasty usually isn’t necessary. But if you often wish that your nose was a bit smaller or wider or if you wish that you didnt’t have a hump or divot on the nose, and you want relief from your sinus problems, it makes senses to have the two procedures performed together.
What Happens During Rhinoplasty and Sinus Surgery
If you and your surgeon agree that combining sinus surgery and rhinoplasty makes the most sense for you, you might wonder what happens during the procedures. Combined rhinoplasty and sinus surgery takes longer than rhinoplasty on its own or sinus surgery on its own, but less time than if you were to have the two surgeries separately.
Usually, the combined procedure starts with sinus surgery, followed by rhinoplasty. There are two common ways of performing sinus surgery. Both are minimally invasive and involve the use of a small camera, or endoscope, to guide the surgeon. Thanks to the camera, the surgeon can work inside of the sinus cavity without making large incisions. Endoscopic sinus surgery involves threading the small camera up into the nose, then using special tools to cut away and remove the tissue that might be blocking the sinuses. Depending on the specific cause of your sinus problems, the surgeon might excise large nasal polyps, scar tissue or tissue that is simply blocking the sinus cavity.
Balloon sinuplasty is an even less invasive form of sinus surgery. Along with the endoscope, the surgeon inserts a small catheter into the nasal cavity, up to the blocked sinus cavity. The catheter contains a balloon, which is slowly inflated. As the balloon inflates, it creates an opening in the sinus cavity, allowing a person to breathe more easily and helping the cavity drain. After the procedure, the cavity remains unblocked.
After the sinus procedure is performed, the surgeon can begin the rhinoplasty portion of the surgery.
Rhinoplasty and Septoplasty
Sometimes, a person’s breathing and nasal problems aren’t due to sinus issues, but to a problem with the septum, the tissue that divides the nasal passages. Many people have a septum that is slightly deviated, or that leans to one side or the other. For many, the deviation isn’t a big deal. But, if the septum leans over a considerable amount, it can make breathing difficult. Septoplasty is the surgery that corrects a deviated septum.
Usually, septoplasty doesn’t change the appearance of the nose, as all the improvements are on the inside. But, a patient with a deviated septum who also isn’t happy with the look of his or her nose can consider a septorhinoplasty, which offers the functional benefits of septoplasty with the aesthetic improvements of rhinoplasty.
What are the Benefits of Combining the Surgeries
Aside from spending less time on the operating table, why should you consider combining rhinoplasty and septoplasty or rhinoplasty and sinus surgery? Having two surgeries performed together shortens your recovery time. Instead of setting aside two weeks for recovery after sinus surgery and two weeks for recovery after rhinoplasty, you need two weeks of initial recovery from both surgeries together.
It’s also usually less expensive to combine procedures. When you have two procedures performed at different times, you pay for anesthesia and the surgical facility, twice. When you have them together, the fees are combined and usually lower. Plus, many insurance plans are likely to offer at least some coverage for sinus surgeries and septoplasty, and some cover rhinoplasty when it is performed for functional reasons. But, you won’t get any coverage if you have rhinoplasty performed as a purely cosmetic procedure.
About Dr. Rubinstein
Dr. Rubinstein has nearly sixteen years of experience helping patients in the Hudson Valley. A board certified facial plastic surgeon and board certified otolaryngologist, he has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments, which allow him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the nose and facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To learn more about combining sinus surgery, septoplasty and rhinoplasty, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center, call 845-562-6673.