Does the nose continue to grow as I get old?
No, the nose does not continue to grow large as one ages. But, the nose undergoes some changes which may make the nose appear as if it is becoming larger and more prominent. Picture a big, droopy nose.
The nose consists of three components - upper ? is the nasal bone, middle ? is the upper lateral cartilage, and lower ? is the lower lateral cartilage, also called domal cartilage. These segments are held together by ligaments, and these ligaments will attenuate and weaken as one ages. These changes will result in the collapse of the nasal valve and the side walls of the nose. The facial bone that supports the nasal cartilage also begin to resorb, resulting in a further collapse of the nasal tip. This results in drooping and downward stretching of the nose, which gives the stereotypical big, droopy nose of an old person.
I never had a problem breathing through my nose, but as I am aging I find it difficult to breathe through my nose - why?
Structural changes of the nose from advanced age directly impact how the air flows inside the nose. As described above, with aging process, ligaments holding the nose cartilage and the cartilage themselves go through changes.
With the drooped nasal tip, the airflow shifts toward the upper part of the nasal cavity. This results in not only narrowed nasal passage but the perception that you are not moving the air through your nose very well.
As discussed earlier, changes in the cartilage and the ligaments that hold the cartilage together will result in both external and internal nasal valve problems. Some patients will experience constant nasal airway obstruction, while other patients may notice collapsing or flapping of the nose with heavy breathing.
Patterson, CN The aging nose: Characteristics and correction. Otolaryngol. Clin. North Am. 13: 275, 1980
Slavit, DH, Lipton RJ, Kern, EB, et al. Rhinolift operation in the treatment of the aging nose. Otolaryngol. Head Neck Surg. 103: 462, 1990
Rohrich RJ, Hollier LH, Janis JE, Kim, J. Rhinoplasty with Advancing Age. Plast Reconstr Surg. 114: 1936, 2004
Will my insurance cover the surgery?
If you are having trouble breathing through your nose, this may be covered by your insurance as a functional rhinoplasty or nasal valve repair surgery. For patients presenting with nasal airway obstruction, comprehensive medical evaluation should be performed to confirm the diagnosis that the nasal airway problem is structural in nature. Pre-authorization will be obtained through insurance to confirm that criteria are met, then the patient will be scheduled for the surgery.
Double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sang W. Kim at Natural Face Clinics specialize in aesthetic enhancement of the face, head, and neck, exclusively. Patients come to see us from the Syracuse metropolitan area and Central New York area including Ithaca, and Rochester. At Natural Face Clinics, we specialize in restoring the youthful neck contour, tired appearance of the brows and eyes, and skin laxity. We offer customized treatment, both surgical and non-surgical, including facelift, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), nose surgery (rhinoplasty), brow lift, neck lift, and skin resurfacing. Find out more by scheduling your personal consultation today.