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Open vs. Closed RhinoplastyMany plastic surgery procedures can be performed with different approaches using different techniques, incision types, and incision locations. For example, rhinoplasty can be conducted as a closed rhinoplasty or an open rhinoplasty. Here are the pros and cons of closed rhinoplasty versus open rhinoplasty and how to know which technique is right for you.

Closed Rhinoplasty

For the closed rhinoplasty approach, tiny incisions are made inside the nostrils to allow for minor correction of nasal defects.


  • Scarring Is Hidden: Scarring is completely hidden because the incisions are made inside the nostrils.
  • Shorter Recovery: The nose will heal more quickly and swelling will diminish more quickly because fewer surgical adjustments are made.


  • Limited Changes: Because incisions are only made inside the nostrils, the surgeon will not be able to make major changes to the nose. There is limited access to the nasal structures, and repositioning the nasal skin will require stretching and may lead to distortion of nasal cartilage.
  • Limited Visibility: The surgeon will not be able to see the inside of the nose as well, which may limit his ability to make certain adjustments.

Open Rhinoplasty

With the open rhinoplasty approach, an incision is made underneath the nose to allow for full nasal reconstruction and alteration. This incision runs along the columella, which is the thin strip of tissue between the nostrils.


  • More Changes Are Possible: The surgeon can lift the nasal skin and make more significant changes to adjust nasal structure and shape.
  • Greater Visibility: The surgeon will have clear visibility of all the nasal structures, which will allow him to make precise corrections and adjustments as necessary.


  • Scarring May Be Visible: The incision is external, which could lead to visible scarring. The scar will nonetheless be inconspicuous and fade over time.
  • Longer Recovery: Because more of the nose is adjusted, recovery may last longer and swelling may take longer to diminish.

Which Technique Is Right for You?

In determining which procedural approach is right for you, consider what matters most to you. The determining factors will likely be a consideration of how much nasal correction you need versus how much you care about the possibility of visible scarring. If you need extensive corrections to your nose, you may need open rhinoplasty, which means that you may have a visible but inconspicuous scar afterward. If avoiding a visible scar is more important than the amount of correction that you receive or if you need only minor corrections, closed rhinoplasty may be best for you. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. John L. Roussalis is a skilled rhinoplasty surgeon who can perform both techniques with excellent results. He will help you determine which surgical approach would be best for your needs and goals.

To schedule your consultation for rhinoplasty with Dr. Roussalis, please call us at (307) 234-4585 or fill out our online contact form today.