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Fairfax, VA (703) 782-3003 | FAX: (703) 539-8355

Jae Kim, MD

What Does Your Nose Do?

Are you considering rhinoplasty? You are not alone. Rhinoplasty is the #1 most requested and performed cosmetic surgery, having recently passed breast augmentation for the top spot. #nosejobcheck is viral on social media. How do you want your new nose to look? Maybe you’ve seen somebody else’s nose that you like. When you go for a consultation, your rhinoplasty surgeon should understand your wants and discuss your options to help you achieve your goals. Your surgeon should also know what your nose does and do their best to preserve, even improve that as well. For further questions about your rhinoplasty, call Dr. Jae Kim’s office today 703-705-2100 to schedule your consultation!

So what does your nose do? Why do you even have a nose?

nose job surgeryThere are four functions of your nose. The first function is breathing. It is better and more comfortable to breathe through your nose than through your mouth. That little bit of resistance you feel as you inhale deeply through your nose actually helps you feel relaxed and satisfied. The nose also warms and humidifies the air you breathe. If you have a blocked or stuffy nose and have to breathe through only one nostril or your mouth, you feel tired and miserable. Try taking a deep breath through your mouth – it does not feel satisfying at all because there is no resistance and the air is cold and dry. You can have a blocked or stuffy nose for a number of reasons, including allergies, infections, prior injury, or a narrow nasal passage. Poor nasal breathing can lead to fatigue, low energy levels, dry mouth, poor sleep, and lack of concentration, which all decrease your quality of life. It is far too easy to worsen your nasal breathing with rhinoplasty, especially when your goal is to have a smaller nose. Your surgeon should take care to maintain or improve your nasal breathing.

The second function is olfaction, or smelling: Your ability to smell is tied to how well air flows through your nose. If you can’t smell, you can’t taste properly either. Imagine eating your favorite food when you have a cold – it’s just not as delicious or enjoyable if you can’t smell it.

The third function is immune defense: Germs, irritants, and pollutants can enter your body through your nose. The hairs and inner lining of your nasal cavity act as gatekeepers. Your nose hairs can trap bigger particles and prevent them from entering your nose. For the things that do enter your nasal cavity and contact the inner lining, your nose can make mucus and clear them out, and your body can mount an immune response when necessary.

The fourth function is cosmesis: Which is what you are most interested in when considering rhinoplasty. In general, your nose should not be more conspicuous than other facial features. The size and shape should fit the remainder of your face, your ethnic roots, and your overall vibe. If you have a long and narrow face, you should have a long and narrow nose to match. If you are black, Latino, or Asian, your nose can be a bit wider and flatter. There are many formulas and parameters to determine the beauty of your nose, but ultimately, you should be happy with the appearance. When talking to your rhinoplasty surgeon, have clear goals in mind about how you would like your nose to look.

The rhinoplasty surgeon must respect all four functions of the nose. When it comes to rhinoplasty, the two functions that can change directly with surgery are breathing and cosmesis. Oftentimes they can be improved with the same operation. Surgery can also indirectly affect your ability to smell, as well as your immune defense system. It is imperative to remember that achieving a more beautiful nose should not come at the expense of the functions of your nose. Rhinoplasty surgery is successful when your nose looks better AND functions as well, if not better than before.

Dr. Jae Kim is a facial plastic surgeon whose focus is exclusively the face and neck. His head and neck surgery training included the study of nasal anatomy and physiology, learning to respect the structure and functions of the nose while making it prettier. For further questions about your rhinoplasty, call Dr. Jae Kim’s office today 703-705-2100 to schedule your consultation!