Rhinoplasty, also known as nose surgery, is one of the most popular facial plastic procedures in the United States. What you may not know going into an initial consultation is that rhinoplasty serves different purposes depending on how it is performed. It might involve altering the nose shape for aesthetic purposes (cosmetic), or optimizing function for better quality of life (functional). 

Keep reading to learn about the main differences between functional and cosmetic rhinoplasty, and how to know which is right for you. 

Functional Rhinoplasty

This type of rhinoplasty corrects issues found in the nasal area. Some common problems that bring patients in for a consultation include:

  • Constant suffering from allergies or recurring sinus infections. This is often treated with a functional turbinate reduction, which involves removing tissue to open space in the nasal passage that allows air to pass without the usual obstruction. 
  • Deviated (crooked) septum, which can be a natural defect or caused by certain injuries. This is usually treated through septoplasty, which works by straightening the septum.
  • Other issues may include sleep apnea, nose bleeds, or dry mouth.

Since these are considered health issues, functional rhinoplasty is typically eligible for insurance coverage. To qualify for insurance coverage, you may be required to show proof of nasal injury, collapsed airways, or other trauma or defects.

Cosmetic Rhinoplasty

On the other hand, cosmetic rhinoplasty addresses aesthetic concerns, which may include:

  • Seeking to draw attention away from a big nose.
  • Correcting the nasal tip to look more pinched. 
  • Addressing any unwanted bumps in the structure of the nose.
  • Correcting asymmetry caused by facial imbalance.

Popularity for cosmetic rhinoplasty comes from the fact that tackling the shape of the nose adds balance and harmony to the rest of the face, essentially changing (and improving) the whole appearance. To be a candidate for cosmetic rhinoplasty you must be over 16 years of age and be in good health to be eligible for the surgery.

Interested in rhinoplasty? 

Whether you opt for a functional or cosmetic rhinoplasty, it will change your life! Board-certified cosmetic surgeon Dr. Stallworth is available to help you navigate procedure options and discuss next steps. Schedule an initial consultation by calling 210-997-3223.