Rhinoplasty has many cosmetic and medical benefits. One of the lesser-known benefits of rhinoplasty is its potential to alleviate chronic sinus issues, including sinus infections and sinus pressure headaches.
This article will provide an overview of rhinoplasty, sinus problems, and how rhinoplasty may help with sinus problems.
Definition of Rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure performed on the nose (nose job) to change its appearance or improve its function. It can be categorized into two types: cosmetic rhinoplasty and functional rhinoplasty. The cosmetic procedure focuses on changing the nose shape or size to bring balance to the facial features.
On the other hand, functional rhinoplasty corrects the internal structures of the nose, such as widening the nostrils for better airflow or removing scar tissue from prior injuries or infections. In some cases, rhinoplasty is performed to correct a deviated nasal septum, a common cause of frequent sinus infections, nosebleeds, facial pain, and headaches.
Overview of Sinus Problems
Sinuses are hollow cavities located in the facial bones around the nose and eyes. When sinus tissues become inflamed or swollen, it is called sinusitis. The inflammation prevents the sinuses from draining properly, which leads to an infection. Sinus problems can be acute, lasting for a short period, or chronic, persisting for more extended periods. They can be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated nasal septum, among other things.
In some cases, chronic nasal congestion and stuffiness can result from narrow nasal airways or nasal obstructions, which can significantly impact an individual’s breathing capacity and quality of life.
Symptoms of Sinus Problems
Sinus problems can manifest in various ways, and an examination is needed to determine the root cause of the problem. These symptoms can include:
Individuals with sinus problems often experience symptoms similar to those of a common cold, leading to confusion and misdiagnosis. As the undrained fluid builds in the sinus, it can cause a runny or stuffy nose and a sore throat from post-nasal drip. However, unlike a common cold, sinus problems may persist for several weeks or even months if left untreated.
Chronic Sinus Infections
Chronic sinus infections are a common symptom of sinus problems. These infections can last for more than 12 weeks despite treatment attempts and can cause symptoms such as bad breath, nasal congestion, thick nasal discharge, and facial pain or pressure. Understanding the reasons behind frequent sinus infections will help with choosing an effective treatment approach to avoid complications.
Sinus Pressure Headaches
A headache can sometimes be caused by the increased pressure from the buildup of mucus and fluid in the sinuses. Sinus pressure headaches are usually accompanied by pressure/pain of the face that is tender to touch and felt when undergoing sudden movements, or while bending forward. In some cases, these headaches can be so severe that they interfere with normal daily activities.
Nasal Congestion and Obstruction
Nasal congestion and obstruction can often lead to mouth breathing as individuals struggle to breathe through their nose. The mouth, unlike the nasal passages, is not built to humidify or filter the air prior to it reaching the lungs. Consequently, mouth breathing may lead to a dry mouth, parched throat, and an increased risk of oral health issues.
These symptoms can also cause difficulty during sleep. In severe cases, treatment for sleep apnea might be needed because nasal congestion can lead to pauses in breathing during sleep.
Reduced Sense of Smell and Taste
Sinus problems can lead to a reduced sense of smell and taste. This problem can be caused by nasal congestion or inflammation that restricts airflow and prevents odor molecules from reaching the olfactory receptors in the nose. Or, the inflammation might impair the olfactory nerves responsible for transmitting smell signals to the brain. Chronic sinus problems can lead to a permanent loss of smell and taste if not treated.
Nasal Polyps and Septums
Nasal polyps are benign soft tissue growths that can block the nasal passages and cause irritation and inflammation to the sinuses. A deviated septum can also cause inflammation by interfering with drainage, leading to chronic sinus infections and difficulty breathing. A functional rhinoplasty surgery called septoplasty may be recommended to straighten a crooked septum to improve nasal function and restore normal breathing.
Treatment Options for Sinus Problems
There are several options available to treat sinus problems. The underlying cause, along with the severity and length of the sinus problems, often determine the choice of treatment.
Medication and Antibiotics
Antibiotics are often the first line of treatment for sinus problems caused by bacterial infections. They work by killing the bacteria causing the infection which reduces inflammation so that the sinuses can drain. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed to reduce swelling in the nasal passages.
Decongestants and Saline Sprays/Rinses
Decongestants are a common treatment option for those suffering from chronic nasal congestion, nasal obstructions, or irritated, narrow nasal passages. They can be taken orally or administered through nasal sprays, depending on the severity of the nasal issues. These medications work by reducing swelling in the nasal airways, improving airflow, and making breathing easier. In addition to decongestants, saline sprays or rinses are also frequently used to alleviate symptoms of chronic nasal stuffiness.
Surgery (Functional Rhinoplasty)
When medication and other non-surgical treatments are ineffective, surgery may be recommended. Functional rhinoplasty can effectively address structural issues that impede proper sinus function. Expert rhinoplasty surgeons employ functional rhinoplasty techniques to improve the patient’s breathing capacity, alleviate chronic nasal congestion, and rectify other nasal issues.
Benefits of Surgery for Treating Sinus Problems
While rhinoplasty is primarily known for its cosmetic enhancements, it can also have advantages when it comes to addressing sinus issues. Not only does the surgery provide a long-term solution, but functional rhinoplasty is designed to directly address the root cause of the sinus problem. It can correct nasal obstructions, narrow nasal airways, nasal valve collapse, and more, all of which can contribute to chronic sinusitis and difficulty breathing.
Dr. Daniel G. Becker, an expert in rhinoplasty at Becker Rhinoplasty Center in New Jersey, uses advanced rhinoplasty techniques to reshape the nasal bones and cartilage to improve nasal function and breathing capacity while also improving the appearance of the nose. By addressing sinus problems while enhancing the nose’s appearance, patients can experience a renewed sense of self-assurance. Along with the improvement in breathing and chronic sinus problems, patients enjoy having their desired nose shape and a more harmonious facial appearance, all of which contribute to overall satisfaction and confidence in their daily lives.