Patients who present for revision rhinoplasty often complain of breathing problems as well as aesthetic problems.
"I almost never see a patient seeking revision rhinoplasty who comes in only to improve their breathing, even when the breathing is severely impaired," says Minas Constantinides, M.D.
"Almost every patient wants an aesthetic improvement and a breathing improvement, in that order," says Dr. Constantinides, director, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, department of otolaryngology, New York University's Langone Medical Center, New York.Oftentimes, these patients also feel as though their previous surgeon has betrayed their trust.
"Establishing a new trust with these patients is the biggest challenge that all of us who do a lot of revisions must face," Dr. Constantinides says. "They want another surgery but fear that another surgery will also result in more going wrong. They often blame their first surgeon for technical failures, but there often are none. Usually, the failure is from the first surgeon underestimating what structural support was required to achieve the desired result."
"Errors of omission are when certain surgical maneuvers were not performed in the primary procedure that would have enabled achievement of the desired refinement," Dr. Greco says. "Errors of commission are when too much surgery was done — For instance, if a patient has a dorsal hump and excessive removal of the hump results in a saddle nose deformity."
Sometimes, prospective revision patients visit Dr. Greco because they have a functional problem following their primary procedure, he says. "This is usually because too much cartilage was removed from certain areas of the nose. It can result in a postrhinoplasty obstruction that can either be due to a persistent deviated septum or collapse of the internal and/or external valve of the nose," he says.
"I harness whatever inherent strength is left in the nose and supplement it, rather than completely rebuilding the nasal framework using rib cartilage," he says. "This is not to say that rib is never needed. It's just that I don't automatically go that route if I believe I can achieve adequate results with more modest measures. My results tend to be less structurally harsh, giving softer, more natural outcomes than those with rib."
Dr. Greco says he relies on the open approach to rhinoplasty revision because it gives him a greater opportunity to anatomically define the nature of the problem and correct it.
"The issue that's extremely important in revision rhinoplasty is to accurately diagnose what the deficiencies are and then make sure you have enough autologous material to correct the problems," he says.