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What is the Difference Between a Septoplasty and a Rhinoplasty?

People often think that a septoplasty and a rhinoplasty are interchangeable terms. However, there are major differences between the two surgeries. Septoplasties are typically performed by ENT doctors, take about 20 minutes, and are strictly functional. Rhinoplasties are typically performed by Plastic Surgeons, take 3-4 hours, and are both functional and cosmetic.

  1. Septoplasty:
    • Purpose: Septoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to correct a deviated septum. The septum is the wall of cartilage and bone that separates the nostrils. A deviated septum occurs when this wall is off-center or crooked, potentially causing breathing difficulties and nasal congestion. This can be due to both traumatic and developmental causes.
    • Procedure: During a septoplasty, the surgeon typically makes incisions inside the nostrils and repositions or trims the deviated portion of the septum to improve airflow through the nasal passages. The outer appearance of the nose is usually not altered significantly in septoplasty. A  crooked septum stays crooked, but the internal portion is cut out, resulting in improved breathing. The curved appearance of the nose will not improve, and in certain circumstances may worsen. What is the Difference Between a Septoplasty and a Rhinoplasty?
  2. Rhinoplasty:
    • Purpose: Rhinoplasty, often referred to as a “nose job,” is a cosmetic surgery aimed at enhancing the appearance of the nose. It can involve reshaping the nose, altering the size, changing the angle between the nose and upper lip, or correcting other aesthetic issues. In most cases a septoplasty is actually performed during the rhinoplasty, resulting in functional improvement.
    • Procedure: Rhinoplasty may involve the removal or addition of bone or cartilage, and incisions are often made on the outside of the nose (open rhinoplasty) or within the nostrils (closed rhinoplasty). The goal is to achieve a more harmonious and aesthetically pleasing nasal structure. Therefore, a septoplasty will only improve breathing, but a rhinoplasty will improve breathing and improve appearance.

What is the Difference Between a Septoplasty and a Rhinoplasty?

Functional versus Cosmetic

In summary, while septoplasty focuses on correcting functional issues related to the nasal septum and improving airflow, rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that aims to enhance the overall appearance of the nose. In most rhinoplasty cases, both septoplasty and rhinoplasty are performed together to address both functional and aesthetic concerns.

Choose a Rhinoplasty Expert

It is important that you choose a Plastic Surgeon experienced in rhinoplasty surgery. Rhinoplasty surgery is a field all in itself. It is considered by many Plastic Surgeons to be the most difficult of all procedures. To be proficient in rhinoplasty requires a very specific skill set and a prolific knowledge of rhinoplasty techniques. It is a finesse surgery that takes time and a commitment to perfection. Patients should be wary of any surgeon who simply  does an “add on” rhinoplasty at the time of septoplasty. Excellent rhinoplasty results take 3-4 hours to achieve.

Dr. David Graham is a rhinoplasty expert. He is a member of the both the American Rhinoplasty Society and Rhinoplasty Society of Europe. He has pursued advanced training with the world’s finest rhinoplasty surgeons, such as Dean Toriumi, Rod Rohrich, Mario Ferraz, and Rick Davis. In addition to traveling all over the US to hone his craft, he has traveled to Italy and Germany to study with the world’s best surgeons. As a result, he is at the forefront of rhinoplasty techniques, including the usage of ultrasonic rhinoplasty. He performs both primary and revision rhinoplasty procedures out of his state of the art surgical suite. 

Contact Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, David Graham, MD, in Rochester, New York

To learn more about the plastic surgery treatments and procedures performed by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, David Graham, MD please contact us.

View our plastic surgery and med spa procedure pricing.

Dr. Graham receives patients from Rochester, Victor, Fairport, Pittsford, Brighton, Irondequoit, Henrietta, Syracuse, Buffalo, New York and surrounding areas.


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