Functional Rhinoplasty

For patients with nasal obstruction that cannot be corrected with medical management, a septoplasty, or a turbinoplasty alone, a procedure known as a nasal valve correction (nasal valve repair) or functional rhinoplasty may help them to breathe better through their nose.

Nasal obstruction is a common condition that causes difficulty breathing through the nose, often disrupting patients’ sleep patterns. The sensation of nasal obstruction can occur on just one side of the nose, or both, or it may alternate back and forth between both sides. There are many causes associated with nasal obstruction, which is why it is important to be evaluated by a specialist if you are experiencing these symptoms. If you are experiencing nasal obstruction and have not yet been evaluated by a specialist, please contact our Sinus Center.

Common causes of nasal obstruction are a deviated septum, turbinate obstruction and nasal valve compromise. Nasal valve compromise is a common yet under-recognized cause of nasal obstruction, which may result from a patient’s unique nasal anatomy or from previous nasal surgery, trauma or aging.

Nasal valve compromise may be caused by collapse of the nasal airway when breathing or narrowing of the nasal passage. This cause of nasal obstruction cannot be corrected by septoplasty alone and requires correction with a procedure commonly called nasal valve correction (nasal valve repair) or functional septorhinoplasty. This procedure will both straighten the septum, if needed, and open up the nasal passage (nasal valve).


Patients frequently ask if this procedure will cause their nose to appear bigger or less attractive. We now know that with appropriate surgical techniques and careful attention to both the form and function of the nose, this procedure may safely be performed without compromising the appearance of the nose. (thesis citation)

Nasal valve surgery may also be performed in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. The goal of surgery is not to cure sleep apnea, but it may improve symptoms by alleviating nasal obstruction. In many cases, this allows patients to tolerate their CPAP mask, encouraging their use of the CPAP machine. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical problem and should be evaluated by providers specializing in sleep medicine.

Learn more about what to expect before and after nasal surgery.
Contact the Facial and Cosmetic Surgery Center at Mass. Eye and Ear to schedule your first consultation at 617-573-3223.

The drawings on this page were originally published in Facial Surgery: Plastic and Reconstructive. Mack L. Cheney, Tessa A. Hadlock. CRC Press, 2014.