Septoplasty vs. Rhinoplasty: What’s the Difference?

Comparing Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

When considering surgery to address concerns related to the nose, two common procedures come to mind: septoplasty and rhinoplasty. While both surgeries involve the nose, they serve different purposes and address distinct issues. In this blog post, we will delve into the differences between septoplasty and rhinoplasty, their indications, and the factors to consider when choosing the right procedure for your needs.



Quicklinks: Septoplasty vs. Rhinoplasty: What’s the Difference?

Septoplasty: Correcting a Deviated Septum

What is Septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that aims to correct a deviated septum. The septum is the cartilage and bone structure that divides the nasal cavity into two nostrils. When the septum is deviated or crooked, it can lead to breathing difficulties, recurrent sinus infections, and sleep disturbances.

Indications for Septoplasty

Some common indications for septoplasty include:

  • Nasal obstruction causing breathing difficulties
  • Chronic sinusitis due to a deviated septum
  • Snoring or sleep apnea related to nasal blockage

Septoplasty Procedure and Recovery

During septoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision inside the nostril to access the septum. They then straighten and reposition the septum to improve nasal airflow. The surgery typically takes about 60-90 minutes and can be performed under local or general anesthesia.

Recovery from septoplasty usually involves minimal pain and discomfort. Patients can expect to return to work and normal activities within a week. Swelling and congestion may persist for a few weeks, but the full benefits of the surgery become apparent within a few months.

Rhinoplasty: Reshaping the Nose for Aesthetics and Function

 What is Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, commonly referred to as a “nose job,” is a surgical procedure that alters the shape, size, or proportions of the nose for cosmetic or functional reasons. It can address a variety of concerns, from enhancing facial harmony to improving nasal function.

Indications for Rhinoplasty

Some common indications for rhinoplasty include:

  • Cosmetic concerns, such as a prominent hump, wide nostrils, or an unbalanced nasal tip
  • Functional issues, including breathing difficulties due to structural abnormalities
  • Repairing nasal injuries or deformities resulting from trauma or congenital conditions

Rhinoplasty Procedure and Recovery

Rhinoplasty can be performed using either an open or closed approach, depending on the specific concerns being addressed. In an open rhinoplasty, the surgeon makes an incision along the columella, the strip of skin between the nostrils, while in a closed rhinoplasty, all incisions are made inside the nostrils.

Recovery from rhinoplasty typically involves more swelling and bruising than septoplasty. Patients can expect to wear a nasal splint for about a week and may experience some discomfort during this time. Most patients can return to work and normal activities within 1-2 weeks, but swelling may take several months to fully subside.

Choosing the Right Procedure: Septoplasty vs. Rhinoplasty

When deciding between septoplasty and rhinoplasty, it is essential to consider your specific concerns and goals.


Consider septoplasty if your primary concerns are related to:

  • Breathing difficulties due to a deviated septum
  • Chronic sinusitis or nasal congestion
  • Sleep disturbances caused by nasal blockage


Consider rhinoplasty if your primary concerns are related to:

  • Cosmetic issues with the shape, size, or proportions of your nose
  • Functional problems caused by structural abnormalities within the nose
  • Repairing nasal injuries or congenital deformities

Combination Procedures

In some cases, a combination of septoplasty and rhinoplasty may be recommended to address both functional and aesthetic concerns. This combined procedure, often referred to as septorhinoplasty, can simultaneously correct a deviated septum and reshape the nose for a more balanced and harmonious appearance.

Consult with an Experienced Surgeon

Regardless of whether you are considering septoplasty, rhinoplasty, or a combination of both, it is crucial to consult with an experienced and qualified surgeon. They will evaluate your specific concerns, discuss your goals, and recommend the most appropriate procedure to achieve the best possible outcome. By understanding the differences between septoplasty and rhinoplasty and working closely with your surgeon, you can make a more informed decision and increase your chances of a successful result.

Septoplasty vs. Rhinoplasty – Making the Right Choice

Septoplasty and rhinoplasty are distinct procedures designed to address different concerns related to the nose. While septoplasty focuses on correcting a deviated septum and improving nasal function, rhinoplasty aims to enhance the appearance and, in some cases, the function of the nose. Understanding the differences between these procedures and consulting with an experienced surgeon can help you make the right choice for your unique needs and goals.


Dr. Yoel Shahar, MD

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Dr. Yoel Shahar has performed thousands of procedures in New York City and Europe over the past 25 years. He specializes in a wide range of procedures such as mini face lift, rhinoplasty, nose surgery, eyelid procedure, temporal lift, fat injection, brow lift ,buccal fat removal, as well as injectable and fillers.

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