Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty: What’s the Difference?

A woman looking off to the side (model)

As the central feature of your face, your nose plays a critical role in your overall facial harmony. When needed, rhinoplasty can provide the fine-tuning necessary to enhance this balance.

Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a “nose job,” is designed to alter the nose’s shape, size, or functional aspects. If you’re considering rhinoplasty, you may be familiar with the terms “open” and “closed.” What do they mean, and which one is best for you? Read on to learn more.

What Is Open Rhinoplasty?

Open rhinoplasty is characterized by a small incision on the columella, the soft tissue separating the nostrils. This incision allows the surgeon to lift the skin away from the nose’s structural framework, providing unobstructed access to the underlying anatomy.

The open approach is particularly useful when the nose’s internal structure needs to be reshaped while preserving its strength. In general, if changes to the appearance of the tip or the overall shape are more than minor, many surgeons prefer the open approach for its unparalleled visibility and control.

Best Uses for Open Rhinoplasty

For patients seeking more refined and pronounced changes, open rhinoplasty provides the access needed for such customization. Fine-tuning the tip’s rotation, angle, and projection can typically be accomplished with greater control through the open approach.

Functionally, open rhinoplasty shines in complex cases where breathing is compromised due to structural abnormalities like a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates. The increased visibility and access to the internal nasal structure enable the surgeon to make corrective changes with a high degree of accuracy, reducing the risk of postoperative complications.

Additionally, open rhinoplasty is often the method of choice for revision surgeries. When previous rhinoplasty procedures have resulted in unsatisfactory outcomes or complications, the open technique allows for meticulous correction.

What Is a Closed Rhinoplasty?

Unlike open rhinoplasty, closed rhinoplasty is performed entirely within the nostrils. This means all incisions are concealed inside the nose, leaving no visible post-op scarring. While this method may not offer the extensive visibility of open rhinoplasty, it does provide enough access for skilled surgeons to perform a range of adjustments, particularly in cases requiring less intricate changes.

Closed Rhinoplasty: What It Addresses

Closed rhinoplasty is especially effective for patients requiring moderate alterations without the need for intricate detailing. For example, if the primary concern is reducing a dorsal hump—the bump on the bridge of the nose—closed rhinoplasty often delivers excellent results.

When it comes to functional issues, closed rhinoplasty can address less complicated cases of septal deviation, allowing for improved airflow without the need for more invasive techniques.

Understanding Rhinoplasty Recovery

Recovery after rhinoplasty varies depending on the specific procedure, but some general guidelines hold true for most patients. Dr. Mustoe and Dr. Sinno use specialized techniques to minimize tissue damage, bleeding, and bruising. As a result, their patients typically experience shorter than usual recovery times.

Following surgery, the nose is splinted to aid proper healing. Most patients feel comfortable with their appearance once the splint is removed—about 7 days post-surgery—and return to work, school, and other everyday activities at that time.

Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty Recovery

The surgical technique used can affect your recovery experience. Open rhinoplasty generally involves more extensive dissection, resulting in a bit more postoperative swelling and potentially a longer healing period. Closed rhinoplasty, on the other hand, tends to have a quicker recovery time due to its less invasive nature.

Read about rhinoplasty recovery tips in this related blog post.

What Results Can I Expect?

When performed by a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, both open and closed rhinoplasty techniques offer outstanding results. You can expect high precision with open rhinoplasty, but it leaves a subtle scar beneath the nose. Fortunately, this open rhinoplasty scar is camouflaged in a natural crease and typically diminishes as it heals, becoming very faint over time.

Rhinoplasty results emerge over several months following surgery. Learn more about what to expect in this related blog post.

What Does Rhinoplasty Surgery Cost?

The cost of rhinoplasty varies based on the complexity and type of surgery, with prices ranging from about $12,000 to $15,000 in Chicago. Closed rhinoplasty can sometimes cost less than open rhinoplasty due to the increased complexity of these procedures.

Rhinoplasty Before and After

Seeing is believing. Below are before-and-after photos of some of Dr. Mustoe’s and Dr. Sinno’s rhinoplasty patients.

Before & After Rhinoplasty With Dr. Mustoe
Dr. Mustoe in Chicago performed Rhinoplasty on a female age 18-24 years of age.
Before & After Rhinoplasty With Dr. Mustoe
Before & After Rhinoplasty With Dr. Sinno
Before & After Rhinoplasty With Dr. Sinno
Before & After Rhinoplasty With Dr. Sinno
Dr. Sinno Rhinoplasty in Chicago, Illinois
Before & After Rhinoplasty With Dr. Sinno

Ready To Take the Next Step?

If you’d like to speak with board-certified plastic surgeons Dr. Mustoe or Dr. Sinno about rhinoplasty, we invite you to call our office at (312) 788-2560 or request a consultation.

Visit Dr. Mustoe’s and Dr. Sinno’s galleries to see more rhinoplasty transformations. You can also learn more about the procedure by checking out our Rhinoplasty FAQ page and downloading our Rhinoplasty e-Guide.

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