When most people think of nasal surgery, they think its simply a cosmetic surgery for beautification purposes, most simply known as a nose job. But there are quite a few medical reasons for getting nasal surgery, one of them is function-improving nasal surgery. It can be very helpful in the case of breathing problems or a reduced odor. Common problems are curvature of the nasal septum. This is the partition between the two nasal cavities. If this is bent to one side, it often leads to impaired nasal breathing, dry mucous membranes, nosebleeds or inflammation of the sinuses.
Sometimes benign growths of the nasal mucosa, so-called polyps, also appear. These obstruct nasal breathing and smell and can only be permanently removed through a gentle, endoscopic, minimally invasive, surgical procedure. Obstructed nasal breathing often leads to problems in the lower respiratory tract or is responsible for snoring, for example.
One region that is particularly important for the function of the nose is the so-called nasal valve. It roughly corresponds to the two nostrils. This is naturally the narrowest point inside the nose. Often the cause of nasal obstruction lies in this area, especially in people with very narrow noses.
When you inhale, the two nostrils, visible from the outside, are pulled inwards. One then speaks of the suction phenomenon. The problem can be identified through special examinations. Various methods are available to improve the function of this region. Sometimes a tiny titanium implant helps, which is implanted under the alar cartilage in a short procedure and is not visible from the outside or inside.
The function-improving nose operations will almost exclusively be carried out through the nose, which means that no externally visible scars are to be expected. Depending on the type and extent of the operation, nasal packings are sometimes required to stop the bleeding. These are specially coated foam tamponades, which on the one hand stop bleeding and stabilize the operative result and on the other hand can be removed very easily and almost painlessly.
How does a function-improving nose operation work?
Depending on the clinic you visit, after the relevant preliminary examinations and the consultation, you will be provided with the most important information about the planned operation. The costs for function-improving operations are usually covered by private health insurance.
In next appointment, atleast 2 weeks before the operation, your surgeon will provide you with detailed information about the operation and of course the respective risks of the operation. The blood tests and any other findings will be checked.
After the anesthetist has informed you, you will be prepared for the operation in peace.
The procedure is usually carried out under general anesthesia. Ventilation during the operation is very gentle using a so-called larynx mask. So there is usually no need to insert a ventilation tube through the larynx.
A few hours after the procedure, you can be picked up by an accompanying person and returned to your familiar surroundings.
After the operation
As part of outpatient follow-up appointments, for example, the nasal packing is removed, wound healing is checked and the nose is cared for.
What are the risks of function-improving nose operations?
As with all operations already mentioned, there can be chances of bleeding or infections. Also very rare risks associated with operations on the paranasal sinuses. The eye socket deserves special mention here, which is only separated from the paranasal sinuses by a bone-thin bone, so that bleeding into the eye socket can occur through this bone.
The bone between the paranasal sinuses and the inside of the skull is also thin and in the rarest of cases can be injured during the operation, especially if it is changed by long-standing inflammation. In such rare cases, brain fluid may drain into the nose or, as a result of ascending infections, the dreaded meningitis. The risks mentioned above can also occur during surgery on the nasal septum, but are far less likely to be feared.
Nasal packing will sometimes be necessary to achieve optimal surgical results. These are then used in such a way that a slightly reduced nasal breathing is still possible. Nasal packing remain in the nose for only two days and are carefully removed during follow-up appointments – pain almost never occurs.
If bruises occurred during the operation, the respective facial region must not be exposed to sunlight for the next 6 months, as this could result in permanent pigment accumulation in the areas of the former bruises.
Both operations have in common the risk of odor reduction, which can occur in very rare injuries to the mucous membrane of the so-called olfactory fissure, a mucous membrane area in the front, upper part of the nose. On the other hand, temporary odor reductions due to nasal packing or short-term swelling of the mucous membranes or accumulations of secretions occurring after the operation are frequent.
These odor reductions usually subside completely. Often the patients also report reduced taste immediately after the operation. However, these are not real taste reductions but are caused by the temporary reduction in smell, since taste itself is always a combination of sensory impressions from the organs of taste and smell. When the olfactory ability resumes, the taste sensation normalizes.