Know Your Nose: A Rhinoplasty Glossary

TLKM Plastic Surgery

Like any branch of medicine, plastic surgery has its own special language. This different vocabulary can be intimidating for patients interested in getting rhinoplasty, or a “nose job,” at my Chicago practice.

To help break down the barriers of communication between doctor and patient, I’ve provided definitions for some of the most common terms associated with this popular surgery.

Patients with a fundamental understanding of the procedure they’re considering—including the glossary of terms associated with the procedure—come to their consultations more confident about discussing the choices involved.

Rhinoplasty Glossary

Alar base: The bottom of the nose, or the portion of the nose you’d see when looking up at a person from below. Many experienced rhinoplasty surgeons perform a procedure called an alar base reduction, which reduces the width of this portion of the nose and reshapes the nostrils.

Closed procedure: A rhinoplasty that is performed through incisions made within the nostrils. This approach creates no visible scarring. Although the procedure has some advantages, it is not always the best approach for patients who require more involved reshaping.

Columella: The strip of flesh that divides the nostrils. Among other concerns, rhinoplasty can correct a “hanging” columella, which is one that extends below the nostrils.

Dorsal hump: A hump or lump that occurs on the bridge of the nose. A dorsal hump can be caused by bone, cartilage, or a combination.

Functional rhinoplasty: Nose surgery for patients who have difficulty breathing through their noses is called functional rhinoplasty. It won’t change the shape or size of a patient’s nose by itself but the procedure can be combined with cosmetic rhinoplasty. Questions about combining these procedures are among the most common questions I hear about rhinoplasty.

Nasal tip: The tip, or end, of the nose. An area of concern for many people, there are several ways the nasal tip can be altered during rhinoplasty. Surgical intervention can improve the angle, rotation, volume, and width of the nasal tip.

Open procedure: Also called an “external” rhinoplasty, an open procedure makes an incision across the columella. Although this procedure creates a very discreet visible scar, it allows the surgeon greater access to the internal structures of the nose. Many people who require significant contouring benefit from an open procedure.

If you’re looking for the best rhinoplasty surgeon in Chicago, I invite you to contact us using the online form to request a consultation. You can also call our office at (312) 788-2560 to schedule an appointment.


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