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Functional Rhinoplasty in Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY

Double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sang W. Kim of the Natural Face™ Clinics, provide functional rhinoplasty, cosmetic rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, for patients residing in the Syracuse metropolitan area and Central New York area including, Ithaca and Rochester.

 Functional Rhinoplasty in Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY

                                                                       Functional Rhinoplasty in Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY

What is a Functional Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty, or “nose surgery” has often been considered simply as a cosmetic elective procedure.  However, the audience should be aware that there is an entire category of nasal surgery, called “the functional rhinoplasty” in which the goal is to improve the breathing through the nose.

Select below to learn more about specific problems that can be corrected with functional rhinoplasty:

How do I know if I am a patient who will benefit from functional rhinoplasty?

Many people deal with nasal airway obstruction.  The most common causes include environmental allergies or common cold which will resolve either with time or with medical treatments.  However, for a subset of patients, the structural or the anatomic aspect of the nose is the cause of nasal airway obstruction.  These people will benefit from functional rhinoplasty based on medical necessity.

Generally, patients have already undergone medical treatments from their primary care providers, for example, allergy test and/or allergy medications.  However, if patients continue to have problems despite medical treatments, or if a physical exam or imaging study reveal obvious structural problem with the nose, they will benefit from functional rhinoplasty.

Some patients have collapsing of the nose when they are inhaling deep or rapidly.  These are called dynamic nasal valve collapse.  Others may notice pitched appearance or crooked appearance of their noses at rest, with constant blockage at all time.

One quick test to know whether patients have nasal valve problem is if they have noticed improvement with “Breathe-right” strip (nasal splint).  Or some patients will lift up their cheeks to flare open their nostril to help them breathe.

Another tool that our office use is a questionnaire called, the “NOSE Survey”.  This is a validated instrument and used by academic researchers and surgeons to score the severity of nasal airway obstruction.

Over the past ONE MONTH, how much of a problem were the following conditions for you?
Score 0 (not a problem) – 4 (most severe problem)

  1. Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  2. Nasal blockage or obstruction
  3. Trouble breathing through the nose
  4. Trouble sleeping
  5. Unable to get enough air through the nose during exercise or exertion

Stewart MG, Smith TL, Weaver EM, et al. Outcomes after nasal septoplasty: results from the Nasal Obstruction Septoplasty Effectiveness (NOSE) study. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004; 130(3): 283-290

What is involved in functional rhinoplasty?

Most commonly, we will start by addressing the septum, the wall that separates the left and right nose.  If there is deviation or irregularity of the septum that is causing blockage of the nasal airway, we will correct that often by removing the involved segment of the cartilage.

Next, we will address the nasal valve.  This may be as simple as improving the strength of the nose, by using the septal cartilage to create a graft – which is like an internal “breathe-right” strip.  Other times, we may need to widen the internal nasal valve – again most often using the patient’s own septal cartilage as a graft.

What is the difference between Cosmetic Rhinoplasty and Functional “Medical Necessity” Rhinoplasty?

A cosmetic rhinoplasty is performed for the purpose of improving the appearance of the nose, whereas functional rhinoplasty is performed to improve the function (breathing) of the nose.

The most common indication for functional rhinoplasty is for patients who have chronic obstruction of the nasal airway.  Nasal airway obstruction can be due to many reasons, including seasonal allergy and/or structural deformity of the nose.  If the cause of nasal airway obstruction is due to structural problem of the nose, then surgical treatment will offer the best chance of improvement for the problem.

There are numerous causes for structural issues of the nose that can lead to nasal airway obstruction.  These include, a history of trauma to the nose, hereditary or congenital (some are just born with it), chronic inflammation, or as part of the aging process.

Prospective patients who are inquiring about functional rhinoplasty will undergo medical evaluation including endoscopic examination, and sometimes CT imaging.  Dr. Kim belongs to a unique group of plastic surgeons with training and expertise to simultaneously address the problems inside your nose and the outside appearance of the nose.

Functional Rhinoplasty in Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY

Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) Before and After | Rochester, NY

This is a 13 year old patient who came to see Dr. Kim for a problem related to her nose.  She was born with deformity of the nose and the septum which had completely sealed shut the left nasal airway and started growing into the cheek bone causing facial pain.  This patient underwent functional rhinoplasty including extracorporeal septoplasty. Left pictures are pre-operative, and right pictures are 1 month after the surgery.  Immediately after the surgery, she was able to breathe through her nose – first time ever – and facial pain had improved also.


Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) Before and After | Syracuse, NY

Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) Before and After | Rochester, NY

This is a 25 year old patient who came to see Dr. Kim for a problem related to his nose.   The patient had a history of numerous sport-related traumas to his nose, and now was dealing with chronic obstruction of his nasal airway.  One can also appreciate the external crooked appearance of the nose.  The patient underwent functional septorhinoplasty.   Immediately following his surgery the patient began to breathe through the obstructed nasal passage (his right).  Subtle improvement in external appearance is also appreciated.  Pictures on the right are about 1 month after the procedure.


Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery) Before and After | Syracuse, NY

This 71 year old patient was dealing with chronic nasal obstruction on her right side.  Upon careful examination, it was determined that her outer nasal valve on her right side was collapsing in when she breathed in air.  Patients with this type of problem will often notice marked improvement when using Breathe Right® strips which serves as a splint to keep their nasal valves open.  This patient underwent a procedure where her septal cartilage was borrowed (cartilage can come from either the nasal septum or the ear), and inserted into the right supra-alar area of the nose to strengthen and prevent the valve from collapsing during breathing.

What does the surgery entail?

Depending on the nature of the repair, it can take as quick as under an hour, to sometimes two hours or more.  Sometimes, the surgery can be done with no visible incisions outside, other times there will be a small incision under the nose which will heal to a point where it’s almost invisible.

Will the surgery change the appearance of my nose?

If the patient already presents with a crooked nose, improving the function of the nose will often improve the crooked appearance of the nose as well.  This is because, even though the goal of functional rhinoplasty is to improve the function of the nose and not the appearance, often times deformity and dysfunction are directly related.

Now some patients may inquire about combining this with a cosmetic procedure to alter the shape of the nose at the same time – most common requests includes refining the tip, or removing the hump.  This is often times performed during functional rhinoplasty, but the cosmetic part of the procedure will be considered elective and will not be covered by the insurance.  The total cost of the cosmetic component of surgery will be clearly disclosed to the patient during the consultation visit.

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.

Plastic Surgeon in Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca, NY


Dr. Sang W. Kim

Harvard Trained, Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Sang W Kim, MD is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery, nasal/sinus surgery, and hair restoration surgery.

Natural Face Centers
I was working in Central New York and had an upcoming event and needed to get 2 areas of Dystport done. They were able to accommodate my schedule( as it was short notice) Dr. Kim’s entire staff was so friendly and welcoming!! During the procedure , even Nurse Dan held my hand and kept me smiling the whole time!! I was incredibly impressed with Dr Kim as he made sure he took the time to explain the process as well as not “ being rushed” something I have experienced with previous Doctors. I live in Florida but will be seeing Dr Kim from now on, and will be recommending their office to my fellow New Yorkers! It’s been almost 2 weeks since my appointment and the results are amazing!!! So happy! Thank you so much Dr Kim, Mary and the rest of the staff !

- michele goodwin

Dr. Kim is a world-class facial plastic surgeon. I’ve been to the top surgeons in the country from Beverly Hills to Miami and I found Dr. Kim to be superior. His face and neck lift were flawless and so natural that no one could tell I had anything done, but everyone said I looked ten years younger. As Syracuse is a discreet location, I would highly recommend anyone who wants a top notch face and neck lift to fly in. His bedside manner is as fantastic as his work. I can’t recommend Dr. Kim enough. I think he is the best Facial plastic surgeon in the country.

- Shelly Cohen

I am very happy with Dr. Kim and all of his staff. Not only did I have a surgical procedure done but I also go there every week for allergy shots and they couldn't be nicer. And Dr. Kim is awesome - - great bedside manner! I highly recommend them!!!

- Sheila Guenette

57 years old and wanted to start my new path in life retired...not looking tired! I did extensive research and sought out 5 surgeon recommendations. I was extremely impressed with Dr. Sang Kim for several reasons: 1 - He specialized in and only performs /neck surgeries, 2 - Dr. Kim is younger and probably more newly established, but there was no doubt that he is a perfectionist and a professional in his field, 3 - He is patient and really listens. I felt confident and trusted that he was giving me his best recommendation for my concerns, 4 - He didn't try to push unnecessary or extra procedures, 5 - I was impressed by how obvious it was that Dr. Kim's administrative and medical staff liked him and respected his work. But most of all, I am extremely satisfied with the results of my face lift!

- Shannon F

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Kim. He is the most patient, professional, and personable physician I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Instead of being rushed through the practice, every member of his staff made me feel welcome and important from the moment I walked through the door. He wouldn't perform a single procedure on me until he fully answered every minute question I had (all of which he eloquently and candidly answered); you can tell that his formal training was exceptional. His bedside manner and skilled technique easily make him one of the best kept secrets in Syracuse. I have referred numerous friends to him who have also, in turn, referred their friends. Make the consult and see for yourself... you won't be disappointed!

- Deanna Hillman

Dr. Kim and his staff were incredible. I had a face lift done this past summer and I was treated with dignity and respect by everyone. Dr. Kim is an exceptional surgeon and one of the nicest and kindest doctors I have ever met. I had a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend Dr. Kim and his entire staff. I recently went back to Dr. Kim for injections. Again my experience was wonderful. He explains everything he is going to do and what to expect. I didn't bruise and I love the fact that he doesn't overdo. He and his staff are just incredible. If I could give more than 5 stars I would.

- Debbie Ely

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