Plastic surgery can be used to improve airway function in patients suffering from severe nasal obstruction, a study has shown.
The procedure, which is known as functional rhinoplasty, can help to treat nasal obstructions, including septal deviation, where the wall separating the nasal passages is not correctly positioned.
In addition, the procedure can be performed to correct valve insufficiency, which is caused by cartilage problems, and turbinate hypertrophy, where swollen areas inside the nose reduce the flow of air.
Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine's cosmetic surgery centre analysed 41 patients with severe nasal obstruction who underwent functional rhinoplasty.
The patients were asked to rate the severity of their nasal obstruction on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 representing the worst cases.
After 227 days, the severity of the average patient decreased from 58.4 to 15.7, indicating a vast improvement in quality of life.
Writing in the September/October issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, researcher Dr Sam Most concluded that "functional rhinoplasty techniques are effective in improving nasal airway function as measured by a patient-based, disease-specific, quality-of-life instrument".