Open or Closed? Which Rhinoplasty Procedure is Right For Me?

The nose is the most prominent feature of the face. As such, it is not unusual for men and women to want to change aspects of their appearance. Maybe the tip points a little too far down or the bridge is a bit too wide. If your nostrils flare out, you may wish to correct that. These and numerous other features can be addressed with rhinoplasty. Also known as nose-shaping surgery, this complex procedure is used to correct and improve several cosmetic and medical conditions associated with nasal and breathing issues.

The board-certified plastic surgeons at The Peer Group in Florham Park, NJ are highly skilled at performing rhinoplasty procedures and creating excellent outcomes. For patients considering this transformative procedure, they detail the similarities and differences between open and closed rhinoplasties and explain which option may be best suited for patients in the Greater New Jersey area.

Why opt for rhinoplasty?

Aesthetic issues

In an ideal world, the appearance of the nose will complement the face, not distract from it. However, when Greater New Jersey patients are unhappy with certain features of their nose, it can cause confidence in their appearance to falter. After all, a nose may look great on one face but may not be flattering on another. Rhinoplasty can be employed to address cosmetic concerns including:

  • the shape, width, and angle of the nose

  • nasal tips that are too pointed, flat, or bulbous

  • bumps, depressions, or an uneven bridge

  • unusually large nostrils can be narrowed to look more proportionate

Breathing issues/nasal deformities

Similarly, rhinoplasty can be performed to improve breathing issues as well as nasal deformities such as a deviated septum. With this common condition, the nasal septum that separates the left and right airways is crooked. This can cause one of the nasal passages to close and make breathing difficult.

Damage from an accident/injury

Damage that results from an accident or injury may also be repaired. When the nose is broken and breathing becomes difficult, Greater New Jersey patients must see a board-certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in surgeries addressing the nose as soon as possible.

Sleep apnea and other nasal issues

Even sleep apnea can be addressed with rhinoplasty. This much-maligned condition is marked by excessive snoring and can ultimately have serious health consequences. Meanwhile, nasal polyps, a cleft palate or lip, and even chronic sinus infections can also be corrected. In most cases, rhinoplasty works to restore proper nasal function and provide patients the relief they need.

Rhinoplasty techniques

There are two types of rhinoplasty techniques, open and closed. Many patients are unaware of the differences between these procedures and what can be accomplished.

  • With open rhinoplasty, an incision is made on the skin between the nostrils and inside the nostrils.

  • With a closed rhinoplasty, incisions are made inside the nostrils.

The terms “open” and “closed” refer to the methods by which the plastic surgeons at The Peer Group access the nose.

It may be surprising to learn that nearly any change to the appearance of the outside of the nose corresponds to alterations that are made inside the nose. As a result, the surgical technique that is used, along with the structure of the nose, greatly influence the outcome of your rhinoplasty.

What is open rhinoplasty?

During an open rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes a small incision on the tissue at the base of the outside of the nose that separates the nostrils. This area is called the columella. The skin is raised to provide easier access to the bones, tissue, and cartilage inside the nose during surgery. With the interior structure of the nose revealed, the surgeon has optimal access to the area that will be altered. This usually allows him or her to operate in a more delicate manner.

It often is easier to stabilize the nose following an open rhinoplasty versus a closed procedure. For these and other reasons, most plastic surgeons prefer the open rhinoplasty technique, which usually results in minimal visible scarring. The biggest drawbacks of open rhinoplasty are that the procedure typically is longer and more invasive than closed rhinoplasty. Recovery times also may be a bit lengthier.

What is closed rhinoplasty?

The earliest method of nose surgery to be performed, closed rhinoplasty is still employed by a good many plastic surgeons in the Greater New Jersey area. With this technique, small incisions are created inside the nostrils so that the surgeon can make changes without having to lift the nasal skin. Considered less invasive and usually shorter in duration than an open rhinoplasty procedure, closed rhinoplasty is best suited to address features that are more easily corrected, especially when the tip of the nose is well-shaped.

Because the incisions are located inside the nose, patients will have no visible scars and may experience less swelling as well as a shorter recovery period following surgery. The greatest downside to closed rhinoplasty is that is the incisions may cause the nasal structure to weaken, which can compromise its shape in the future. Also, given the limited access that it allows plastic surgeons to cartilage and tissue, usually only small, less delicate changes can be made.

Which rhinoplasty procedure should you choose?

While open and closed rhinoplasties are performed differently, one technique is not necessarily better than the other. With a closed procedure, the recovery period may be faster. Also, Greater New Jersey patients will not have any noticeable scars. However, with the nasal skin lifted, the changes made as part of an open rhinoplasty procedure can be more precise. This is important especially when large, complex alterations are required.

The board-certified plastic surgeons at The Peer Group in Florham Park, NJ work closely with patients to determine which rhinoplasty procedure will provide them with the best results. Your nose will be evaluated and, depending on the changes that you desire as well as your expectations for the outcome of the surgery, they can confidently recommend the technique that will meet your needs.


Now that you are more informed about open and closed rhinoplasties, we invite you to contact the New Jersey office of The Peer Group and schedule a consultation with one of our skilled, board-certified plastic surgeons so that your journey toward looking and feeling can get underway.

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