Understanding Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty

Woman looking forward touching nose (model)

Did you know there’s more than one path to achieving a better-looking nose? I may opt to perform either an open or closed rhinoplasty. While either approach can improve your facial appearance, your procedure and the results of your nose job can vary depending on which technique is used.

Let’s explore open vs. closed rhinoplasty to help you determine which procedure may be better suited to your needs.

What Is Closed Rhinoplasty?

During a closed rhinoplasty, I make a small incision inside each nostril without lifting the nasal skin. This technique usually works best for patients who do not require extensive revision or significant changes. It is preferable because it is less invasive, heals faster, and leaves no visible scar. As an expert in this surgical approach, 90% of the nose jobs I perform are closed rhinoplasty procedures. While many surgeons find this approach too challenging for revision rhinoplasty, I successfully perform closed rhinoplasty on 50% of my complex revision rhinoplasty patient base.

Pros of closed rhinoplasty:

  • Incisions concealed inside the nose
  • Less swelling and bruising
  • Less visible scarring
  • Shorter recovery
  • Fewer side effects

Cons of closed rhinoplasty:

  • Less access to the tip of the nose
  • Is more challenging for revision rhinoplasty
  • Requires extreme precision

What Is Open Rhinoplasty?

An open rhinoplasty involves making tiny incisions on the nasal columella (the thin strip of skin dividing the nostrils) and inside each nostril. I then lift the skin to make the desired revisions. This approach usually leaves behind a small external scar that fades over time. Even though it is a more complex path, it offers better access to the nasal skeleton, which results in more comprehensive revisions.

Pros of open rhinoplasty:

  • Better access to the tip and back of the nose
  • More effective for complex surgeries like revision rhinoplasty
  • Ability to use advanced cartilage grafting techniques  

Cons of open rhinoplasty:

  • Additional swelling and bruising
  • Slightly longer recovery
  • Causes initial scarring, but scars gradually fade
  • Technically more challenging—requires a highly qualified surgeon
Before & After a Rhinoplasty
Before & After a Rhinoplasty

Which Procedure Should I Get?

Patients pursue rhinoplasty for many reasons. While most patients want to reshape their nose for better facial symmetry, some patients also need to address concerns such as a deviated septum to improve their breathing.  During your consultation and examination, we’ll look at the following:

  • Natural shape of the nose
  • Severity of defects in the nose
  • The extent of the changes you want
  • How long you can set aside for your recovery

How Do Results Differ?

Regardless of whether I recommend performing an open vs. closed rhinoplasty, your procedure will improve the appearance and, in some cases, the functionality of your nose. However, one important distinction is that an open rhinoplasty allows greater visibility and access to the nose, so the potential for beneficial results is often greater than after a closed rhinoplasty. You can view the results of patients who have benefited from open and closed rhinoplasty procedures in our gallery of before and after photos.

The Takeaway

My advice for patients considering a nose job is not to worry about whether closed or open rhinoplasty is better. Instead, leave the decision to your trusted plastic surgeon. I typically perform 200 rhinoplasty procedures each year and have extensive experience with both variations. You can rest assured that I have the expertise to determine the best approach for your needs. Just remember that only a highly trained, board-certified plastic surgeon is qualified to perform a more complex open rhinoplasty. Selecting the right surgeon to perform your rhinoplasty ensures that you will achieve a safe and successful outcome with the results you desire.

Are you ready to take the next step toward improving your facial appearance with rhinoplasty? I encourage you to request a consultation or call our office at (818) 698-2845.

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