Cosmetic Rhinoplasty – Open or Closed?

If you have ever considered nose reshaping surgery (Rhinoplasty), having a general understanding and some reasonable expectations before surgery is important. If you are unhappy with a bump on the top of the nose, the tip of the nose or the size of your nostril, you may be an ideal candidate for rhinoplasty.

Depending on what concerns you – a rhinoplasty using the open or closed technique may be in your future. The main difference between open and closed rhinoplasty is the placement of the incision. The open technique is an incision made across the columella which is separating the skin of the nostrils from each other. This incision allows the plastic surgeon to “open” the skin envelope of the nose and can correct the bump on the top of the nose as well as the tip. Depending on if you think the tip of your nose is too round, too pointy, or too boxy. The open rhinoplasty technique will give your surgeon the access needed to correct these aesthetic concerns.


As stated above, the columella is the skin in between the nostrils, and is the area the incision is used for the open technique of cosmetic nose surgery. In comparison, the incision inside of the nostril (as demonstrated in the photo) can be used for the closed technique. Patients that are only concerned about a bump on the top of the nose are good candidates for a closed rhinoplasty using those incisions inside of the nose. While most patients would prefer a hidden scare inside of the nostril, not everybody is a candidate for this approach, especially if they need more than just the bump on top of the nose restructured. With that being said, the incision for the open rhinoplasty technique, while potentially more visible, is quite invisible. Check out the before and after photo of the patient below that received an incision across the columella for the open technique to treat a bump on the nose and a down-pointed tip. The incision is usually relatively hidden after two weeks.


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Before & After of the open rhinoplasty technique.
Courtesy Dr. Frank L. Stile, Las Vegas, NV.