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choosing between open and closed rhinoplasty

Summary: How patients choose between open and closed rhinoplasty is a subject of much discussion–especially between that patient and their surgeon. Both open and closed rhinoplasty techniques offer their own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s not surprising that many patients and surgeons have long conversations about which way to proceed. This is often discussed during your consultation process.

A Look at How Patients Choose Between Open and Closed Rhinoplasty

It’s important to acknowledge that, often, how patients choose between open and closed rhinoplasty is simply by letting their surgeon pick for them. And that’s not necessarily a bad strategy on the patient’s part. Your surgeon is, after all, much more knowledgeable when it comes to, well, surgery (at least, your surgeon should be more knowledgeable).

But it’s worth having a long discussion about the pros and cons of each rhinoplasty approach. Open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty are very different approaches to the same procedure, and each technique comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

This article certainly is not intended to replace the advice of your plastic or facial surgeon. We’ve written this purely for entertainment purposes only. But it’s certainly worth talking to your surgeon about your options, about what open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty will mean for you. How patients choose between open and closed rhinoplasty is often directed by the surgeons themselves. So it’s definitely worth looking into what’s involved with that conversation, preparing for it as best you can, so you know what you’re getting into.

What’s the Difference Between Open and Closed?

It would probably be helpful to first examine the differences between open and closed rhinoplasty–then we can get into the decision-making process. To put it simply, open and closed rhinoplasty procedures are quite different in terms of techniques.

During a closed rhinoplasty:

  • A small incision is made inside the nostrils
  • Patients will display no visible scars
  • All of the work surgeons do is performed through these small incisions
  • Patients are usually allowed to return home the same day (it’s an outpatient procedure)

During an open rhinoplasty:

  • A small incision is made at the base of the columella (that piece of tissue between your nostrils)
  • The skin of the nose is elevated up and over the nose in order to give surgeons greater access to the interior of the nose
  • Patients are typically allowed to return home the same day (this, too, is an outpatient procedure).

Open and closed rhinoplasty procedures are each deployed to accomplish different objectives. In most cases, it will be up to the patient to figure out what the end results should look like but up to the surgeon to determine how to accomplish that goal.

How to Choose Between Open and Closed

The choice between open and closed rhinoplasty is usually made as a cost-benefits analysis. There’s no getting around the fact that closed rhinoplasty is far easier on the body with a much faster recovery period. Closed rhinoplasty also tends to be less expensive and require less care afterwards.

However, closed rhinoplasty is somewhat limited in what it can accomplish. If you’re a patient that wants to make big changes to your nose, a closed rhinoplasty might not be able to do it. For big and bold changes to the nose, you’ll need an open rhinoplasty procedure.

That’s true whether you’re trying to change the aesthetics or the function of the nose. For some desired results, surgeons just need a significant amount of access in order to perform the necessary changes. That’s why, in many cases, it’s the surgeons making the final decision. Because the simple truth of this question breaks down like this: You’ll get a closed rhinoplasty when you can and open rhinoplasty when you have to.

Listening to Your Surgeon

There are borderline cases, of course, and exceptions to this rule. Some patients may find that they’ll achieve moderate success with a closed rhinoplasty technique but profound success with an open technique. And in those cases, the patient will have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each approach.

It might be a good idea, in those cases, to discuss your options in depth with your plastic surgeon. Be sure to talk about what your recovery might look like, and the steps you’ll have to take to ensure your nose stays good and healthy after surgery.

When it comes to rhinoplasty, you’re really most concerned with the results–you want your nose to look different in a very specific way. How you get there will depend largely on your surgeon. And there are certainly benefits and drawbacks to each approach. How patients choose between open and closed rhinoplasty typically comes down to a cost benefit analysis. But it’s not a decision you can make without the input of your plastic surgeon.


  • “What Is the Difference between an Open and Closed Rhinoplasty?” The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS),
  • “Open vs. Closed: Which Rhinoplasty Technique Is Best? Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery.” Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery,
  • Kotler, Robert. “Open Rhinoplasty vs. Closed Rhinoplasty « Secrets of a Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgeon.” WebMD, WebMD, 30 Sept. 2009,

About the Author: Dan Voltz has been writing about cosmetic and plastic surgery for four years. He stays up to date with the latest trends and is constantly in communication with surgeons to ensure he gets the most up to date information.

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