Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is the third most common plastic surgery procedure in the United States, with 217,979 rhinoplasty surgeries performed in 2015, accounting for about 13 percent of the year’s plastic surgery procedures. Rhinoplasty can be used to resolve health problems and aesthetic problems through both revision rhinoplasty surgery and the initial rhinoplasty procedure. There are two major rhinoplasty techniques, open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty.

About Open Rhinoplasty

Open rhinoplasty involves an incision made in the columella (the delicate tissue that separates the nostrils) to allow for greater access to the tissue throughout the nose. The open technique is easier for the surgeon to perform as it allows for greater visibility of the nasal tissue during the procedure. Open rhinoplasty also allows for more dramatic revision of the nose.

The open technique can lead to greater and more visible scarring than the closed technique. Recovery after rhinoplasty using the open technique can be more unpredictable and prone to complications than recovery after rhinoplasty using the closed technique, but can also be less traumatic because the technique gives the surgeon more room to work and requires less modification to other internal nasal structures.

About Closed Rhinoplasty

Closed rhinoplasty is performed entirely inside the nose without interfering with the columella. An internal procedure prevents visible scars. The closed rhinoplasty technique requires a surgeon with more experience and precision than its counterpart, the open technique.

The closed rhinoplasty technique results in minimal scarring, which is inside the nose and therefore not visible, but is also limited in the scope of the revisions it can achieve. Recovery after closed rhinoplasty can be easier and more predictable than recovery following rhinoplasty using the open technique, but can also be more traumatic if a surgeon is indelicate or tries to make revisions that are too significant.

Is Open or Closed Rhinoplasty Best for Me?

Each rhinoplasty candidate is unique, so it’s impossible to make a blanket statement about which rhinoplasty technique is better for all patients. Closed rhinoplasty is typically preferred because of the easier recovery process and the minimal, hidden scars, but there are numerous situations in which an open technique may be better for the patient.

Because it allows for significant revision, those seeking dramatic change or who need dramatic reconstruction may prefer open rhinoplasty. A skilled plastic surgeon can still minimize scar tissue and the appearance of scars following an open rhinoplasty. On the other hand, those seeking only slight revisions or revisions concentrated to the bridge of the nose with no or minor revisions desired for the tip of the nose may prefer the subtle changes of the closed rhinoplasty technique.

Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon for Your Rhinoplasty

Your plastic surgeon can determine which technique is best for your rhinoplasty procedure during your consultation. It’s important to clearly communicate what you want from your rhinoplasty surgery and share your complete health history, including dental history, with your plastic surgeon so that they can choose the best technique for your health and goals.

It is therefore essential that you choose the right plastic surgeon for your rhinoplasty procedure in particular so that you can be confident in your results. A plastic surgeon who is skilled and experienced, especially in rhinoplasty, is the difference between glamorous plastic surgery results and a plastic surgery horror story. If possible, patients should seek out a plastic surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgeries like rhinoplasty.

Dr. William J. Binder

Dr. William J. Binder is a facial plastic surgery specialist with over three decades of experience with facial plastic surgery. He is double board certified and has 10 U.S. and global patents on medical and surgical devices and pharmaceuticals and is extensively published across various medical journals.

If you want your rhinoplasty, whether open or closed, performed by one of the world’s leading facial plastic surgeons, contact Dr. Binder’s office today to schedule your consultation.