A “functional” rhinoplasty is a type of reconstructive rhinoplasty where the primary aim of the surgery is to improve breathing (the “function” of the nose). There are a number of causes for breathing problems in the nose that are best addressed through a functional rhinoplasty. The cost of fixing functional rhinoplasty problems are often partially covered by Medicare and private health insurance because the primary purpose of the surgery is not to make a cosmetic change to the nose but to improve breathing.
The soft tissues around the nostrils or just above them can be very floppy in some people.
Unfortunately this problem tends to worsen with age due in part to the repetitive forces involved in breathing and in part due to increasing skin laxity.
The specific area that collapses can be divided into the external nasal valve, the internal nasal valve or the area between them, the “inter-valvular” area. There are different functional rhinoplasty techniques to address these problems. These techniques include alar batten grafts, strut grafts and spreader grafts.
A markedly deviated nasal septum may need to be completely removed from the nose and rebuilt. A functional rhinoplasty approach is necessary if the problem is severe and cannot be addressed through a septoplasty alone.
Nasal trauma can cause significant injury to both the soft tissues of the nose as well as the underlying framework. This can severely interfere with breathing. The problem often gradually worsens over time to the extent that it can become a major problem many years after the original injury. A functional rhinoplasty may be necessary to rebuild the framework and reposition the soft tissues appropriately to restore breathing.
Snoring has many causes but nasal valve collapse and severely deviated nasal septums can be amongst the causes. A functional rhinoplasty may be of some assistance.
You can read more about functional rhinoplasty in this blog article.