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Reconstructive Nose Surgery

When thinking of nose surgery, most people immediately think of plastic surgery.  However, nose surgery can also be performed on people for medical reasons.  There is a whole host of reasons why people may need reconstructive nose surgery for medical reasons, including:
  • Birth defects, such as a cleft pallet
  • Damage to the nose due to a fire
  • Damage to the nose due to accidents, including breaks
There are some notable differences between cosmetic and reconstructive nose surgery, which we will explore below.

Enhancing Appearances by Choice or by Necessity

Both cosmetic and reconstructive nose surgery can be used to enhance a person’s appearance, although reconstructive nose surgery can also be performed to improve nasal functions, including breathing, smelling and snoring, in which case the appearance is of no or secondary value.  The main difference, however, is that cosmetic surgery is known as “elective”, meaning that patients choose to alter their appearance by having surgery.  Those who require reconstructive surgery generally have little to no choice in the matter – of course, anybody is in their rights to refuse surgery, but reconstructive surgery is generally required in order to have a fully functioning nose.

Costs of Nose Surgery

Cosmetic nose surgery is never covered by the NHS.  It is something that is not essential to your quality of life – even though many people feel better emotionally after having had plastic surgery.  Reconstructive nose surgery is a medical necessity and will hence be covered by the National Health Service.  It is important, however, that you check with your local PCT or your private health insurer if your specific procedure is or is not covered through the NHS.

Reconstructive Nose Surgery Surgeons

Another difference between cosmetic and reconstructive nose surgery is the type of surgeon.  Although for both types, surgeons will have followed the same basic education, once this training has been completed they will specialise in one of the two areas.  Some surgeons have chosen to do both, particularly those surgeons that first worked in a hospital and then moved on to a private clinic, but overall the training and experience between the two is very different.  A reconstructive nose surgery surgeon looks at the nose as an organ with a function, which they are aiming to improve.  A cosmetic nose surgeon sees the nose as a very visible facial feature that can be improved by shaving and shaping.

As you can see, reconstructive nose surgery is generally performed on people who have deformities either on the outside of the nose – for example due to car accidents, fights or fires – or on the inside of the nose – for example a cleft pallet or breathing difficulties such as chronic sinusitis or congestion.  It is generally a life altering operation that will allow them to regain full function of their nose, including smell and breathing, as well as potentially reducing the amount of snoring that they do.  Cosmetic surgery, in contrast to reconstructive nose surgery, is applicable to people who want to make their nose look better aesthetically.

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Reconstructive Nose Surgery

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