Nasal Breathing

Did you know that you take approximately 22,000 breaths per day? Breathing effectively and with ease is more important than you may realize. The nose is a primary conduit for your breath – it functions to humidify, warm, and filter the air that you breathe. For this reason, optimizing your nasal breathing is comforting and essential. 

For patients who have nasal airflow blockage, or nasal obstruction, there are multiple different potential  operations that can be helpful if a blockage exists, depending on the specific cause of the breathing difficulty. Dr. Seth has performed thousands of nasal breathing procedures. To get his patients the needed results, he performs a detailed examination of the nose to determine the site(s) of nasal obstruction. The optimal surgical plan can then be created. With careful planning, Dr. Seth regularly obtains outstanding nasal breathing results for his patients.  

Some common procedures for nasal obstruction that Dr. Seth performs include:

  1. Septoplasty: This surgery corrects a deviated septum, which is a common cause of nasal obstruction. The septum, the wall of cartilage and bone that divides the nasal cavity, is straightened to improve airflow.
  2. Turbinate Reduction: The turbinates are normal structures within the nasal cavity that help warm, humidify, and filter the air. Although they perform these important functions, they can become enlarged or swollen to obstruct nasal airflow. Turbinate reduction surgery aims to reduce the size of the turbinates while preserving its functionality. Multiple different techniques exist to accomplish this, and Dr. Seth chooses to perform a submucous reduction of the turbinate with outfracture to shrink it in size and lateralize it. This technique has been shown to effectively provide maintained results.   
  3. Nasal Valve Repair: The nasal valve is the narrowest part of the nasal passage and is responsible for maintaining airflow. If the nasal valve collapses or is weakened, it can lead to nasal obstruction. Surgical techniques such as strategically placed cartilage graft placement can help improve nasal valve function. 
  4. Functional septorhinoplasty: A functional septorhinoplasty is performed to alter the internal structure of the nose to maximize breathing ability. With this approach, nasal valve repair and repair of the septum can be fully performed. For those individuals who have a septal deviation that affects the structurally critical aspects of the septum, an open functional rhinoplasty approach is most often required. Further, if nasal obstruction is due to structural issues such as a crooked nasal bridge or a twisted nose, a functional septorhinoplasty can correct these deformities to allow for better airflow.
  5. Sinus Surgery: Chronic sinusitis or sinus-related issues can contribute to nasal breathing difficulties. Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) aims to treat underlying sinus conditions, remove nasal polyps, and improve sinus drainage, thereby enhancing nasal breathing. Dr. Seth works with a number of expert sinus surgeons and will refer you to them if sinus problems are present.

Functional septorhinoplasty

A functional septorhinoplasty is a reconstructive surgical procedure performed to correct a blocked nasal passage to improve nasal breathing.  A functional septorhinoplasty is approached via a small incision on the undersurface of the columella (the bridge of skin in between the nostrils). The access allows Dr. Seth the ability to straighten and improve the entire septum and open the nasal breathing valves.  Further, cosmetic changes to the nose, cosmetic rhinoplasty (nose job/reshaping) can be done in conjunction to improve the appearance and proportions of the nose in relation to your face. 

Prior to your procedure, you will have a detailed consultation with Dr. Rahul Seth to discuss the specific cause of your nasal obstruction, your treatment objectives, and answer any questions you may have. Depending on the structural issues being addressed during your functional septorhinoplasty, the type and extent of the surgery may vary.  Dr. Rahul Seth is well known for his work and outcomes and has performed nearly a thousand functional septorhinoplasties and thus brings a keen and experienced skill set to correct the cause of your unique nasal blockage.


You may be a good functional septorhinoplasty candidate if you are: 

  • generally healthy
  • a non-smoker
  • experience issues breathing through your nose
  • need reconstructive work to correct a blocked nasal airway due to an injury, birth defect, or previous surgery


Functional septorhinoplasty is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. The procedure takes around four hours depending on the cause and severity of your nasal blockage. Dr. Rahul Seth starts by making one external incision under the nose between the nostrils as well as small incisions inside the nose. These incisions are designed to heal inconspicuously with most patients unable to see them over time. 

During the procedure, Dr. Seth elevates the skin of the nose to gain access to the cartilage and bones of the nose. The cartilage and bones are then skillfully sculpted and, if needed, additional cartilage from the nasal septum, ear cartilage, rib cartilage, or even cadaveric rib is used to provide appropriate support. Incisions are then sutured closed and an external splint is applied.


At Golden State Plastic Surgery, we are proud to provide extraordinary care at each step of your nasal surgery journey. Following your surgery, you will have a nasal cast outside of your nose, sutures on the undersurface of your nose, and nasal splints inside each nostril supporting your nose which will stay in place for one week. You may experience oozing of blood from the nose for several days following your surgery. Nasal congestion, bruising, and swelling is to be expected for a few weeks following your surgery. Throughout your recovery, we recommend being gentle with your face and nose. However, typically after two weeks you may resume light activity and after four weeks you will have no activity restrictions, but should avoid pressure to the nose for at least six weeks. Vigorous physical activity and exercise should be avoided after surgery in order to ensure the safest recovery with optimal results. You will see final results six to twelve months following surgery. 

Pain medication is prescribed for pain relief, but most patients are able to wean themselves off after a few days, taking Tylenol or Motrin only as needed.

How To Get Started

If you’re interested in a functional septorhinoplasty or want to learn more about your options with Dr. Rahul Seth, please request a consultation online or by phone at (925) 357-9050

During your consultation, you will have time to discuss your breathing goals and treatment options. During this process, you will get to know Dr. Seth and the Golden State Plastics team that will be with you every step of your journey. Once your consultation is complete and your unique treatment plan is created you will work with the Golden State Plastics team to schedule surgery. Once your surgery is scheduled, you will receive a pre-operative appointment to review your procedure, post-operative instructions, and expectations on your road to recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Functional septorhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that combines septoplasty (correction of a deviated septum) with repair of nasal valve stenosis (opening of the inner structure of the nose) to facilitate improved nasal breathing. This improves nasal function while keeping in mind important aesthetic concepts to rebuild the nose in a natural way.

While cosmetic rhinoplasty focuses primarily on improving the aesthetics of the nose, functional septorhinoplasty addresses functional issues (such as breathing difficulties due to a deviated septum and narrow nasal passages) while reconstructing the nose in a natural way that utilizes cosmetic techniques. This approach creates a natural and long lasting result that achieves a balanced and harmonious appearance.

The duration of the surgery can vary depending on the complexity of the case, but it generally takes around 3 to 4 hours. 

The recovery period for functional septorhinoplasty can vary among individuals, but most people can expect swelling and bruising to subside significantly within a few weeks. However, complete healing and final results may take several months. During the initial recovery period, you may experience mild discomfort, congestion, and nasal stuffiness, which can be managed with pain medication and nasal sprays.

Functional septorhinoplasty aims to correct structural issues that contribute to nasal obstruction, such as a deviated septum or nasal valve collapse. By addressing these problems, the procedure can improve nasal airflow and breathing. However, the degree of improvement can vary depending on the specific nasal anatomy and underlying issues.

Like any surgical procedure, functional septorhinoplasty carries certain risks. Potential but uncommon complications can include bleeding, infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, poor wound healing, scarring, changes in nasal sensation, asymmetry, persistent nasal obstruction, and dissatisfaction with the aesthetic outcome.

In most cases, functional septorhinoplasty may be fully covered by insurance. Dr. Seth’s team works with you and your insurance to determine coverage. However, coverage can vary depending on your insurance policy. It is advisable to contact your insurance provider to understand the coverage details and requirements.

Yes. As Dr. Seth understands the importance of your nasal breathing, he will perform surgery on functional only cases. Should you desire cosmetic changes, that can also be done but is an additional rate that is not billed to insurance.

Yes, we separate out the cosmetic and functional portions of the surgery so that the functional portion is billed to your insurance. The cosmetic portion is billed to you. Our patient care navigators and surgical schedulers will help to guide you through this process.

Dr. Seth is known for his low complication and revision rates, along with a high success rate of achieving the desired results of functional septorhinoplasty. You can review his before-and-after photos of previous patients, read reviews and testimonials.

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