The number of different techniques that may be used in rhinoplasty can seem staggering, as no two surgeries are conducted in exactly the same way. There are a wide range of aesthetic and functional issues that can be addressed with nose-reshaping surgery, and skilled plastic surgeons have the flexibility to customize the procedure to each patient, as well as the knowledge to adapt when faced with an unexpected obstacle.
There are two ways a surgeon can conduct a rhinoplasty procedure: using the closed or open technique. This has to do with the incisions made, and how the surgeon accesses areas of the nose to be worked on. While each technique has its place, many surgeons today prefer the open method of surgery. Here is an overview of how that process works, and why many surgeons prefer it over the closed method.
Open vs. Closed
The difference between the open and closed techniques is the placement of the incisions used to access the inside of the nose. In a closed procedure, incisions are made only in concealed areas inside the nose, while open rhinoplasty involves external incisions. In the past, closed rhinoplasty made up the majority of procedures performed, but today the opposite is true.
The Open Procedure and Its Benefits
During an open rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes a small incision horizontally on the columella (the external part of the septum separating the nasal passages). This allows the nasal tip to be pulled back, much like the hood of a car. The major advantage of this is that it allows the surgeon to see the framework of the nose during surgery and maneuver freely. This is especially important during extensive procedures, often resulting in more favorable outcomes than a closed rhinoplasty might offer.
Recovery and Potential Complications
Recovery from either technique is much the same. An open procedure might make the nasal tip experience more swelling, but swelling is persistent in any type of rhinoplasty, and can take over a year to fade completely. The only potential complication unique to open rhinoplasty is the possibility of scarring on the columella. However, this incision is extremely small and generally fades very well. It is extremely rare to experience cosmetic issues related to the incision from open rhinoplasty.
You should learn as much about your specific procedure as you can before the operation. During your consultations, your surgeon will begin to plan the surgery, and should be happy to walk you through anything that is planned. If you are concerned about whether an open or closed technique will be used and it is not mentioned, be sure to speak up. Consultations are your best opportunity to ask specific questions and learn more about your procedure. Come to your meetings prepared with questions, and do your research beforehand.
Talk to an Expert
Confused? Nervous? The only way to get answers is to talk to a qualified rhinoplasty expert. Consultations are extremely valuable for learning more about the procedure, asking questions, and planning your surgery. However, it is important to research prospective surgeons carefully and only meet with experts who will give you reliable information and good advice.
Start by seeking a board certified facial plastic surgeon, and narrow the field by only meeting with surgeons who specialize in rhinoplasty. Dr. Stuart Bentkover has a passion for rhinoplasty and has been working diligently to give patients great results for over 20 years. If you would like to meet with Dr. Bentkover and discuss your procedure, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA, to schedule a consultation today.