Rhinoplasty vs. Septoplasty: Which Is Right for You? By dsherris on October 05, 2018

A photo of an attractive woman’s eyes and noseA rhinoplasty is a type of nasal surgery that can be performed for health reasons or cosmetic purposes. In some cases, patients may ask their surgeon to combine techniques to enjoy both improved nasal function and cosmetic appearance.

Dr. David A Sherris of Buffalo, NY, discusses the different purposes of nasal surgery below. Read on to learn more about rhinoplasty vs. septoplasty.

Why a Septoplasty?

The goal of a septoplasty is purely functional. Specifically, this procedure is designed to correct a deviated septum or a septum that is leaning too far to one side or the other.

A deviated septum may need to be surgically adjusted when it blocks a person’s airway, causing congestion and difficulty breathing. Septoplasty surgery straightens the inside of the nose to improve breathing but does not change the external appearance of the nose.

Why a Rhinoplasty?

A rhinoplasty is a cosmetic facial procedure designed to change and improve the external appearance of the nose. Depending on a patient’s cosmetic goals, a rhinoplasty can make a nose smaller, straighter, change the tip or take a bump away.

In some cases, a rhinoplasty is performed to restore the appearance of the nose after injury or trauma to the face.

Additionally, a rhinoplasty is routinely performed with septoplasty at the same time to improve both appearance and function of the nose. In cases where a septum is deviated causing breathing issues a rhinoplasty cannot be performed alone without addressing the deviated septum at the same time. Doing this could result in possible breathing issues. It's  like trying to build a house on a crooked foundation! 

The Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty Procedures

The septoplasty and rhinoplasty procedures are almost always performed under general anesthesia to protect the airway during surgery, although you may opt for local anesthesia with intravenous sedation if surgical work to your nose is minimal.

These procedures typically take two hours to perform, depending on the number of concerns targeted during the surgery. Rhinoplasty revision surgery typically takes longer as there are more concerns and functional issues to address.


A septoplasty is typically performed completely inside the nose, so any incisions are concealed within the nasal passages. The septum is straightened, repositioned and secured with a splint for the post-operative period.

Alternatively, a rhinoplasty can be performed with the closed or open technique. The open technique will leave a tiny scar under the nose between the nostrils. Patients typically do not notice the incision line and it heals very well. Closed rhinoplasty does not result in any external incision, but may not be an option for every patient as it is a technique for only minor changes to appearance.

Insurance Coverage

A major difference between septoplasty and rhinoplasty is whether or not a person’s insurance policy will cover it. Insurance plans often cover septoplasty if the procedure is deemed medically necessary. A septoplasty is usually covered by insurance after other methods of treating the deviation including medication therapy have not been effective.

A rhinoplasty is not covered by insurance if it is for purely cosmetic reasons. If the procedure is performed to improve function, it may be eligible for insurance coverage. For example, if a rhinoplasty is performed to correct a collapsed airway meaning the outside of the nose is bent or twisted affecting breathing, whether due to injury or a congenital condition, an insurance carrier may cover the procedure.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you have cosmetic or functional nasal concerns, reach out to Dr. Sherris today to schedule a consultation. You can speak with a staff member by calling (716) 884-5102. Or, send us a message using our online form.

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Dr. David A. Sherris

The Clinic of Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. David A. Sherris is highly qualified to perform your surgery, with distinguishing achievements such as: 

  • Double board-certification in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as otolaryngology
  • Regular invitations to travel around the world to teach other surgeons 
  • Annually voted as one of the "Best Doctors of America"
  • Thousands of patients around the globe, including other doctors

To schedule your consultation with Dr. Sherris and discuss your options for plastic surgery, contact our practice in Buffalo, NY, online or call us at (716) 884-5102.

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