Rhinoplasty for a Pinched Nasal Tip

Although a rhinoplasty (nose job) is generally thought of as an elective surgical procedure, the truth is that many patients have the procedure done in order to correct a medical issue. Such medical corrections usually involve excessive snoring, sleep apnea, or difficulty breathing. In some cases, this may also include correcting the shape of the nasal tip. One example of this is if the nasal tip is pinched, which may inhibit airflow through the nose. For such patients, a rhinoplasty surgery to open up the nasal tip should almost certainly be considered medically necessary.

What Causes a Pinched Nasal Tip?

A pinched nasal tip is usually a congenital deformity. In other words, the patient will have been born with it. In some cases, it can happen as the result of a previous cosmetic surgery in which too much cartilage at the nasal tip was removed in an effort to give the nose more definition, particularly if the nasal tip was bulbous or rounded. Because the resulting cartilage wall is too thin to properly support the nasal tip, it caves inward, resulting in a pinched appearance. Unfortunately, such a surgical complication cannot be determined immediately after surgery, and will usually not be evident until the bruising and swelling has subsided several weeks later.

How Can a Pinched Nasal Tip Cause Breathing Difficulties?

When the nasal tip cartilage loses integrity, it will weaken and cave inward. Because it is no longer supporting the nasal rim, the nostril opening will become blocked. This may create breathing difficulties for patients.

How Can a Pinched Nasal Tip Be Surgically Corrected?

In order to surgically correct a pinched nasal tip, the collapsed cartilage must be shored up and supported by means of a graft. This must be done because there is too little cartilage at the nasal tip, either due to genetics or because too much was removed in a previous rhinoplasty. In most cases, the graft is taken from the septal cartilage (the wall that separates the two nasal cavities). If there is not enough septal cartilage for a sufficient graft, cartilage can be taken from behind the ear.

The grafts are placed along the length of the outer nasal tip. They work as steel beams to help support the nasal tip and open up the nasal cavity. The grafts must also be long enough to reach into the stable areas to provide further structure for the nasal tip.

Will Insurance Cover the Cost for Correction of a Pinched Nasal Tip?

In cases in which there is an existing deformity to the nose that hinders breathing (such as in cases of a congenital deformity), there is a good chance that insurance will cover the cost of surgery because is it medically necessary. In cases of corrective rhinoplasties, where the surgeon is correcting for an earlier rhinoplasty, it may be uncertain as to whether or not it will be covered by insurance. Patients should discuss with their surgeons at the consultation and check with their insurance to see if such cases will be covered.

Contact Marin Aesthetics in San Diego to schedule a rhinoplasty consultation for a pinched nasal tip.

About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!