The warmer weather this spring has many benefits – unless you suffer from allergies. Many people who have trouble breathing through their nose, which often worsens during allergy season, may find some permanent relief through “functional rhinoplasty” – or nasal valve repair. This common procedure is particularly effective for people with conditions such as a deviated septum, self-collapsing nose or septum or a crooked nose.
A study I conducted of patients in my practice treated with functional rhinoplasty shows that approximately 96 percent are able to breathe better than they ever thought possible – some say it’s like wearing glasses for the first time. Some also report improved senses of smell and taste, and many are less tired because they sleep better at night and have less effortful breathing during the day. For some allergy sufferers, functional rhinoplasty can reduce or eliminate the use of nasal allergy sprays as well.
How do you know if you’re a candidate for functional rhinoplasty? Often, people who regularly use or rely on breathing strips to aid breathing can benefit from this procedure. Here’s a simple test: If pulling on one side of your cheek helps you breathe better, you may be a candidate for functional rhinoplasty. A consultation with a doctor specializing in this field can determine if you can benefit from this procedure. During an initial exam, the doctor will isolate exactly where in the nose the breathing problem originates and make appropriate recommendations.
It’s important to know functional rhinoplasty does not change the shape of the nose. However, if a patient wants to change its nose shape, this can be accomplished at the same time. Functional rhinoplasty is covered by most insurance policies. The 90- to 120-minute surgery is an outpatient procedure, with most patients returning to work and a normal routine within three to four days.
Difficulty breathing through the nose – especially during allergy season – affects a substantial percentage of the population. Patients who have undergone functional rhinoplasty are often amazed with the results and how much better they feel.