Nasal obstruction, or difficulty breathing through the nose, is a common and troubling complaint we see in patients frequently referred to us by other doctors, specifically general Otolaryngologists (Ear, Nose and Throat specialists) or Plastic Surgeons. Associated symptoms include mouth breathing, snoring, poor compliance with sleep apnea machines, poor exercise tolerance and bad breath.
Nasal blockage can be the result of many factors, including allergies, chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps, or anatomic issues such as a deviated nasal septum, collapsed structural support of the nose (typically referred to as nasal valve collapse) and turbinate hypertrophy. Prior nasal surgery, both functional and cosmetic, may lead to disruptions in the nasal support mechanisms of the nose that typically allow for normal airflow during inspiration.
Functional nasal surgery can be performed to improve a patient’s ability to breath through the nose, specifically by correcting anatomical problems leading to nasal obstruction. This typically involves septoplasty (straightening of the cartilaginous and bony septum of the nose, the structure which divides the nose into a left and right side), internal and external nasal valve repair (reinforcing the structural components of the nose typically with cartilage grafts harvested from redundant portions of the nasal septum or ear in patient’s with previous septoplasty) and turbinate reduction (removing excess tissue and bone from the inferior turbinates on the inside of the nose which might be causing further narrowing of the nasal cavity).
A nasal examination in the office allows us to evaluate the nasal airway and anatomy and determine the necessary course of action.
Functional nasal surgery can be combined with cosmetic rhinoplasty (reshaping of the nose) if a change in appearance is desired (added out-of-pocket costs apply), or kept as a purely functional procedure (typically covered by insurance).
Dr. Buckingham performs functional nasal surgery when done in conjunction with a cosmetic rhinoplasty.
Prospective patients are encouraged to call the office to schedule an appointment at their earliest convenience.
Frequently Asked Nasal Obstruction Questions
Nasal obstruction is the perception of impaired air flow through the nostrils on inspiration. This can be caused by many factors including anatomic issues, such as a deviated septum, turbinate hypertrophy or internal nasal valve narrowing, all of which can lead to increased inspiratory effort or resistance. Chronic inflammatory conditions such as allergies, chronic sinusitis, autoimmune disorders and other mucosal inflammatory diseases can also cause nasal blockage or dysfunction of the internal lining of the nose. Generally these conditions should be treated prior to any functional nasal surgery for anatomic obstruction.
Patients with nasal obstruction related to anatomic blockage of nasal airflow who do not suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions affecting the nose or who have been stable medically may be good candidates for surgery. Certain bleeding disorders or autoimmune conditions may be a contraindication to surgery. Although being on blood-thinning medications is not an absolute contraindication to having surgery, they may have to be held prior to surgery and resumed at your surgeon’s discretion.
During your consultation for nose surgery, the doctor will perform a thorough examination to determine what might be contributing to your nasal obstruction and discuss options to correct any anatomic blockages or narrowing. He will also be able to answer any possible questions that you may have.
Typically, most functional nasal surgery is covered by insurance, dependent on benefits. Sometimes, pre-authorization may be required for certain procedures for some health insurance providers.
I had a septoplasty and a rhinoplasty done with Dr. Buckingham about three months ago. I initially had the intention to interview several surgeons before settling with one, but after visiting Dr. Buckingham’s office first and meeting him personally and his staff, I was convinced right off the bat. He has a special software system that can show me a computer-generated image of what my results would look like after my surgery. I would describe Dr. Buckingham as a very thorough and well informed doctor. He goes the distance when it comes to ensuring patient comfort. He even sent flowers to my house after my surgery, which is something totally unexpected from a doctor. He even personally called me the day after my surgery to see how I was feeling. He is an overall, well-rounded doctor. I am able to breathe better now. I know that my breathing has yet to improve more, but it’s still only three months since the surgery. After the surgery, I feel more confident now; I can pull back my hair from my face because I have nothing to hide now. I feel like I look good and it’s all thanks to Dr. Buckingham.