The Importance of Nasal Breathing

The importance of effective nasal airway breathing cannot be over emphasized. By the time inspired air passes through the nose and reaches the lungs, it has been properly warmed, humidified, and cleaned. The physiologic cleaning and filtering function of the nose is important for proper pulmonary function and overall good health. Absence of good nasal breathing on a continual basis or on an episodic basis gives rise to a host of medical problems and conditions. The importance of consistent nasal breathing often times is more than apparent for those individuals who have had successful corrective nasal septoplasty.

Nasal Septoplasty

Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS)

Chronic sinusitis is a complex disease entity that is the result of recurrent or ongoing infections or inflammation in the sinuses. Often this is treated with topical or oral medications but sometimes surgery is necessary.

Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) is usually performed under general anesthesia. In a FESS, all the surgery is typically done through the nose using small telescopes viewed on video screens. Sometimes a computer aided navigation tool is used to assist the surgeon. During surgery, delicate manipulations are performed to remove diseased or obstructing bone and tissue to open the sinuses and improve drainage. Polyps and swollen tissue as well as diseased secretions are also removed. This not only removes diseased tissue and improves drainage, but also allows for better penetration of topical medications after surgery. Typically you go home the same day and are seen about a week later for reinspection and to clean the sinuses in the office.

Balloon Sinuplasty is a procedure that uses balloons to dilate narrow sinus passages. It can be effective at relieving some symptoms of chronic sinusitis which are due to bony obstructions. Balloon Sinuplasty allows patients to return to normal activities quickly. Unlike conventional sinus surgery, it does not include removal of bone or tissue from the nose, although some times it combines with traditional sinus surgery. Balloon Sinuplasty is sometimes performed in the office under local anesthesia.

Septoplasty with or without a Rhinoplasty

A deviated septum refers to an obstruction caused by a bend or fracture in the nasal septum. The septum is a structure made of cartilage and bone that divides the right and left sides of the nose. When it is deviated, it obstructs proper airflow and needs to be surgically straightened to improve breathing. This surgery is called a septoplasty. Rarely this is done for sinus infections, nosebleeds or headaches. This surgery is done entirely through tiny incisions made inside the nose.

Septorhinoplasty is performed to improve both the external appearance and internal breathing capabilities of the nose. The rhinoplasty portion refers to the external bones and cartilages of the nose, and often these are repaired not only for cosmetic reasons but also to improve the nasal airway. Most of the incisions are inside the nose, but in an open rhinoplasty a tiny incision is sometimes made on the columella as well.

These procedures are typically done under general anesthesia. You can usually go home the same day. Your surgeon will review postoperative care and expectations with you.


The turbinates are small tissue covered bones in the nose which normally help warm and humidify the air we breathe. Sometimes they become too large and a turbinoplasty is done to shrink the tissue to improve breathing. This surgery is done using special instruments to reduce the large turbinate to a more appropriate size. This is a very delicate surgery because of how important the turbinates are to the sinuses and breathing properly.