What is Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty?

Dr. Angela Rodrigez, founder of ART Surgical in San Francisco, California, specializes in patient-centric, gender-affirming care. This includes open and closed rhinoplasty as part of facial feminization and masculinization. Learn more about open vs. closed rhinoplasty as you make your gender-affirming care decisions.

Rhinoplasty: The ART of Transformation

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure often used in facial feminization or masculinization surgery. The main goal is to achieve balanced facial proportions that align with an individual's gender. This procedure is not limited by gender. It can be tailored to meet individual aesthetic and functional needs, including a more traditionally feminine or masculine appearance. Beyond enhancing appearance, rhinoplasty can also improve breathing. Skilled surgeons can help reshape the nose through rhinoplasty, allowing individuals to express themselves and feel more confident.

As one of the few gender surgeons who are active members of the Rhinoplasty Society, Dr. Rodriguez has a unique philosophy and approach. She performs endonasal or closed rhinoplasty. This procedure reduces trauma and swelling. It also creates more predictable results than traditional rhinoplasty.

A Closer Look At Open Rhinoplasty

Open rhinoplasty is a surgical method where a small incision is made on the tissue between the nostrils. This allows the surgeon to access the nasal structures directly. The surgeon adjusts the bone and cartilage during the procedure to reshape the nose as needed. This technique offers clearer visibility, making it more appropriate for complex nasal changes.  Recovery is usually longer for this reason in contrast to a closed rhinoplasty. Open rhinoplasty often results in preferred aesthetic and functional improvements. 

Closed Rhinoplasty for Gender-Affirming Care

At ART Surgical, Dr. Rodriguez's preferred approach is closed rhinoplasty. This is also known as endonasal rhinoplasty, reshaping the nose without external incisions. During the procedure, incisions are made inside the nostrils. This minimizes visible scarring. The surgeon adjusts the bone and cartilage internally to achieve the best results. This procedure creates more predictable results than traditional rhinoplasty. It's suitable for minor to moderate nasal modifications. Much like open rhinoplasty, this procedure can significantly improve nasal aesthetics and function, contributing to a more affirming facial appearance.

Similarities and Differences of Open and Closed Rhinoplasty

Open and closed rhinoplasty techniques aim to reshape the nose for better appearance and function, but they differ in how the surgery is performed. Open rhinoplasty involves a small external incision for better visibility. Closed rhinoplasty uses internal incisions inside the nostrils to minimize scarring and trauma to the surrounding tissues. Both methods allow for adjustments to the bone and cartilage. The choice between them depends on factors like the complexity of the procedure and desired changes. Open rhinoplasty is often preferred for more complex cases. Closed rhinoplasty works well for smaller changes and may have quicker recovery times. Deciding which option is best for you involves discussing with your surgeon to match the approach with your specific needs and goals.

Before Transgender Rhinoplasty

Before gender-affirming rhinoplasty is performed, individuals often go through a journey of self-discovery and reflection. Deciding to have the procedure involves considering gender identity and expression. During pre-surgery consultations with specialized surgeons, goals and expectations are discussed. A personalized surgical plan is also created. Medical evaluations are often required to ensure you are in good physical health for surgery. Support from healthcare providers and loved ones is important and empowers individuals to pursue the path of self-affirmation and fulfillment through transgender rhinoplasty.

What to Expect After Rhinoplasty Procedures

After rhinoplasty, you can expect discomfort, swelling, and bruising around the nose and eyes. This usually fades within a few weeks. You may also experience nasal congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose temporarily. It's often recommended to rest with your head elevated and avoid strenuous activities. Be mindful to follow your surgeon's post-operative care instructions. While you may notice changes to your nose soon after surgery, final results may take several months. Your surgeon will track and discuss your progress in follow-up appointments. With patience and keeping up with your follow-up care, you'll see improvements in nasal appearance and function over time.

A Journey to Self-Confidence

Embarking on a journey to self-confidence is a transformative experience that often begins with embracing your authentic self. Deciding between open vs. closed rhinoplasty surgery involves seeking support from trusted professionals like Dr. Rodriguez and the ART Surgical team, who are known for their expertise in transgender surgery and commitment to patient care. With compassion and skill, they can guide you through every step of the process, from the initial consultation to the final transformation. Let us be a part of your gender-affirming journey.

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