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Open and closed rhinoplasty – what is the difference?

How do I choose between and open and closed rhinoplasty?

open and closed rhinoplasty


Broadly speaking, there are two ways of undergoing a rhinoplasty. There is the open approach and the closed approach.

A closed approach means that we can do all the work through the nostrils so there are no scars left on the outside of the nose. All the incisions are done around the margin or the edge of the nostril.

For various reasons, some people will be better suited to having an open rhinoplasty. This is where a little scar is made across the skin between the two nostrils. This skin is called the columella and it heals up nicely but you will always have a scar that you can faintly see, but with time this scar fades.  After this, the rest of the incisions are hidden inside the nostrils.

An open rhinoplasty is a bigger operation with a longer recovery process. Each patient has individual requirements and there are various reasons why some people will be better suited to having an open approach. We always tailor the approach depending on what will be most helpful to the patient and what the desires of the patient are.

The most important thing to remember when discussing with your surgeon what approach to take is that rhinoplasty procedure varies between individuals. Your surgeon should discuss the open and closed rhinoplasty approaches with you. They should indicate which approach they think is the best one to use as well as discussing other techniques used in rhinoplasty surgery. Often a cartilage graft is needed to support the cartilage of the nose that is already present. This can be taken from another part of the nose and forms a part of the rhinoplasty procedure. Occasionally cartilage needs to be obtained from other parts of the body (usually either the ear or the ribs). If this is required, this should be discussed with you at your surgical consultations.

Do you have a question for Sarah Little about open and closed rhinoplasty? Enquire here and send pictures if you want.

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The Face Surgeons