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Original Investigation
Mar/Apr 2016

Outcome of Nasal Valve Obstruction After Functional and Aesthetic-Functional Rhinoplasty

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2016;18(2):128-134. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2015.1854

Introduction  Nasal valve insufficiency is distinct from other anatomic causes of nasal obstruction. Functional rhinoplasty refers to the collective techniques used to reconstruct the lateral nasal wall, typically achieved with the use of spreader and alar grafts. Patients undergoing functional rhinoplasty can also have aesthetic desires and goals achievable with combined aesthetic-functional rhinoplasty.

Objective  To evaluate the improvement in nasal obstruction symptoms after cartilage graft reconstruction in patients with nasal valve insufficiency and to compare the postoperative improvement between patients undergoing functional and aesthetic-functional rhinoplasty.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this prospective multicenter cohort study, 12 participating surgeons enrolled 79 consecutive patients diagnosed as having nasal valve insufficiency as the primary cause of nasal obstruction. Patients underwent functional or aesthetic-functional rhinoplasty. The study collected demographic, clinical, and surgical data from March 2006 to September 2008. Nasal symptoms were evaluated using a validated, disease-specific, quality-of-life instrument. The Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) scale was administered to participants at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Follow-up was completed on September 2008, and data were analyzed in September 2009 and in September 2013.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Changes in NOSE scale score (range, 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating greater severity of obstruction) at 3 months between the functional and aesthetic-functional groups.

Results  Of the 79 patients, 31 underwent functional and 48 underwent aesthetic-functional rhinoplasty. Overall, an improvement was found in nasal breathing, with a mean decrease of 48.6 points (95% CI, 41.9-55.2; P < .001) at the 3-month assessment compared with the preoperative baseline NOSE scale score (mean [SD], 67.1 [19.7]). The improvement in nasal breathing was similar whether patients underwent functional or aesthetic-functional rhinoplasty (mean [95% CI] NOSE scale score change, 51.4 [42.1-60.7] and 46.6 [37.1-56.1], respectively; P = .49).

Conclusions and Relevance  Nasal valve reconstruction with spreader and alar grafts is effective in treating patients with nasal valve insufficiency. Combining aesthetic interventions with functional rhinoplasty did not seem to affect the magnitude of improvement in nasal breathing outcome.

Level of Evidence  2.