Septoplasty vs. Rhinoplasty Surgery: What Are The Differences?


    Septoplasty and rhinoplasty are two surgeries that affect the nose. While these two surgeries are often confused, they are actually very different. Rhinoplasty is a procedure that changes the external appearance of the nose, while septoplasty changes the nose's internal structure. Rhinoplasty is usually cosmetic, while septoplasty is usually done to correct medical abnormalities.

    In this article, we’ll compare septoplasty vs. rhinoplasty surgery to help you determine which procedure is best for you. 

    Main Difference Between Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

    The easiest way to differentiate between septoplasty vs. rhinoplasty surgery is that septoplasty addresses a deviated septum, while rhinoplasty is primarily a cosmetic procedure that focuses on the aesthetics of the nose.

    Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that straightens the bone and cartilage that divide the space between your nostrils. It’s often recommended for those with a crooked septum, which increases the risk of sinus infections and can make it difficult to breathe. Septoplasty straightens the septum to correct these issues. 

    Rhinoplasty—what most people refer to when they talk about nose jobs—is a cosmetic surgical procedure that enhances the external appearance of the nose based on the patient’s aesthetic preferences. It often involves straightening a crooked nose or reshaping a large one to be more proportional with other facial features. Rhinoplasty can also address the natural changes in the nose that come with age.

    Do I Need a Rhinoplasty or Septoplasty?

    A septoplasty is the best option if you have a deviated septum that causes snoring and difficulty breathing. You may also need a septoplasty if you have internal structural issues with your nose caused by injury or medical conditions. Meanwhile, rhinoplasty is best if your primary concern is reshaping or restructuring your nose to achieve a particular look.

    Another related procedure is revision rhinoplasty. This is a surgical procedure to address a previous nose job that did not meet the patient’s expectations. 

    You can choose to combine septoplasty and rhinoplasty to address internal and external concerns. Don’t hesitate to discuss this during your consultation with your plastic surgeon. 

    Rhinoplasty vs Septoplasty Procedure

    Both procedures begin with a thorough examination of the entire face, focusing on the nose’s internal and external structures. Your doctor will then recommend the appropriate procedure for you and provide a realistic idea of what to expect before, during, and after your surgery.

    During septoplasty, your plastic surgeon will correct existing structural defects to ensure that your septum sits comfortably in the middle of your nose. To reposition the septum, they may need to trim your bone and cartilage.

    In a rhinoplasty, the surgeon can use a variety of different techniques to achieve your aesthetic goals. They may sharpen or trim the nose bridge, change the size of the nostrils, adjust the angle between the nose and the upper lip, or even change the size of the nose overall. 

    A patient who chooses to undergo septoplasty may opt to combine it with rhinoplasty for efficiency. This allows you to address both structural and aesthetic concerns in the same surgery. 

    Anesthesia for Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

    In most cases, patients can expect to be under general anesthesia for both septoplasty and rhinoplasty. Your doctor and anesthesiologist will discuss this with you in detail prior to the surgery to help you prepare. You will need to avoid food and drink for several hours prior to receiving anesthesia. 

    General anesthesia is administered via inhalation or an IV line in the hand, neck, or chest. You will also receive a breathing tube to ensure that you get sufficient oxygen during the procedure. In some less invasive rhinoplasty cases, the doctor will use a combination of local anesthesia and IV sedation. 

    Recovery from Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

    Septoplasty is an outpatient surgical procedure, which means that patients will return home on the day of the surgery. You will need to wear a nasal split to support your nose for seven days. You will experience bruising and swelling during the month after your surgery, although you will be able to return to work or school after the first week. 

    Rhinoplasty is also an outpatient surgery. You will need to wear a splint to protect your nose for the first week, and you will also experience bruising and swelling. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication for the first few days after surgery. It usually takes six months to one year to see the final results of your rhinoplasty. 

    Results, Expectation, and Duration

    The effects of septoplasty are permanent. Around three to six months after the surgical procedure, your nasal tissues will start stabilizing. You may still experience some gradual changes up to a year after the surgery—this is normal. Once fully healed, you will experience little to no snoring or difficulty breathing. 

    There are also many positive long-lasting effects of rhinoplasty. Many patients find that their self-esteem and confidence improves due to their nose’s new appearance. They may also find that the size and shape of their nose better matches the rest of their facial features. 

    For both procedures, it’s important to choose a reputable plastic surgeon to ensure that the procedure is done safely and with care. Additionally, it’s important to have realistic expectations regarding the appearance of your nose post-surgery. 

    Average Cost

    The average cost of septoplasty ranges from $4,000 to $6,000. Meanwhile, the average cost of rhinoplasty—not including the anesthesia, medical tests, operating room and facility expenses, and miscellaneous costs— can range from $5,000 to $9,000+. 

    If we were to compare the average costs of septoplasty vs rhinoplasty surgery, septoplasty typically costs less and is more likely to be covered by your insurance. This is because septoplasty is usually categorized as a medically necessary procedure, while rhinoplasty is categorized as a cosmetic procedure. 

    The exact cost of both procedures varies depending on the specifics of the procedure and the techniques used. Every patient is unique, which is why your plastic surgeon will provide a final estimate during your in-office consultation to help you decide. 

    Many clinics offer financing solutions, so ask your doctor about how to make the overall cost more manageable for you. Loans, payment plans, and credit options can all help you break the cost of the surgery down into monthly payments. 

    Risks and Complications

    All surgeries carry a certain level of risk. For both septoplasty and rhinoplasty, these include the following:

    • Swelling

    • Infection

    • Excess bleeding

    • Hole in the septum

    • Blood clot in the nose

    • Impacted sense of smell

    • Changes to the nose shape

    • Negative reaction to anesthesia

    • Temporary numbness around the nose area

    Patients might also experience scarring, poor wound healing, and an appearance they aren’t satisfied with. This could necessitate revision rhinoplasty or other secondary procedures. 

    Who Makes a Good Septoplasty Candidate?

    The ideal candidate for a septoplasty procedure is someone who:

    • Has a deviated septum that causes nasal congestion and difficulty breathing

    • Snores excessively, to the point that it disrupts sleep patterns

    • Is physically healthy and a nonsmoker

    Who Makes a Good Rhinoplasty Candidate?

    Meanwhile, a good candidate for rhinoplasty is someone who:

    • Has a fully developed facial structure

    • Has realistic goals about how the procedure will improve the appearance of their nose

    • Is physically healthy and doesn’t smoke

    Of course, we recommend discussing options with your plastic surgeon  as they are most qualified to advise you on the best course of action.

    Tips for Choosing the Best Plastic Surgeon 

    There are many plastic surgeons who offer both septoplasty and rhinoplasty. With so many options to choose from, narrowing down the right medical provider for you can be difficult. 

    Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon that has extensive experience with septoplasty and rhinoplasty procedures. This will give you the peace of mind you need for a successful surgery. 

    Here are some tips to help you find the right plastic surgeon for your septoplasty or rhinoplasty: 

    • Select a board-certified plastic surgeon: Board certifications are key when selecting a plastic surgeon for any procedure. This ensures that the surgeon is properly trained and stays up-to-date with best practices in plastic surgery. When considering any surgeon, be sure to verify their certification through the board’s website or directory.  

    • Review their education and experience: Education and previous experience is also important to consider when selecting a surgeon. Make sure they have received training from an accredited institution and that they have previous experience specifically with nasal surgery. 

    • Read reviews and ask for recommendations: Reading online reviews can help you learn more about what to expect from your surgeon. If you know friends or family that have had plastic surgery, you can also ask them for first-hand recommendations. 

    • Look at before and after photos: To get an idea of each surgeon’s style and techniques, ask for before and after photos of previous patients. If you like the look of the “after” photos, that’s an indication that the surgeon may be a good fit for you. 

    • Consider payment options: Price is another important factor to consider when selecting a surgeon. While you shouldn’t just go with the cheapest option, it is important to make sure your surgeon has payment options that match your needs. If you’re getting a septoplasty, look for a surgeon that takes your insurance. If you’re getting a rhinoplasty, look for a surgeon that offers a variety of flexible payment options. 

    • Tour the facility: Before selecting a surgeon, ask for a tour of their facilities to ensure they are clean, comfortable, and welcoming. 

    • Have a one-on-one consultation: Surgical skill isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a provider. It’s also important to make sure your surgeon communicates well and that you’re comfortable talking with them. Have a one-on-one consultation prior to making your decision to ensure you’re a good fit. 

    • Review all your options: Don’t just go with the first surgeon you meet with. Consider multiple options to find a surgeon who’s truly the best fit for you. 

    At Beauty By Design, we offer septoplasty and rhinoplasty surgical solutions that start with a face-to-face consultation with Dr. Robert J. Troell, M.D., F.A.C.S.

    Dr. Troell is a facial plastic surgeon and a member of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Troell takes a highly personalized approach to plastic surgery to address the unique needs of each individual patient. 


    Rhinoplasty and septoplasty surgeries are both effective ways to address concerns about your nose. Each patient is different, so be sure to consult a plastic surgeon to determine which procedures is best for your unique needs. If you’re planning a rhinoplasty or septoplasty surgery in Las Vegas, reach out to Beauty by Design today to learn more.