Learn About the Anatomy of Your Nose

At the center of the face, the nose plays an important role in both appearance and comfort. Whether you’re unhappy with the look of your nose or experience impaired breathing, there are many versatile procedures that can give you the results you’re looking for. Good candidates for nose surgery are people with realistic and healthy expectations about the changes they want to see in their nose and an idea of what they would like to change about their nose.

As one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the US, rhinoplasty is performed on more than a half million men and women each year. The surgery is designed to reshape the nose in order to enhance its appearance or function in a way that looks as natural as possible. Options for surgery include inside rhinoplasty, with no outer incisions, outside rhinoplasty that includes incisions on the inside and outside of the nose, and non-surgical rhinoplasty, which involves injections.

As you start your potential journey into nose surgery, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of the nose so you can more accurately describe the changes you want. Starting at the top, the radix is the deepest part of the nose and it separates the nose from the forehead. Typically, the radix is at the same level as your pupils. The dorsum rums from the radix to the tip of the nose and is often referred to as the bridge of the nose.

Lower on the nose is the columella and the alae. The columella is the small column between the two nostrils and it provides support to the inside of the nostril. The alae provide outside support. The length of the nose can be divided into thirds with the upper third composed of the nasal bones. The middle third contains the upper lateral cartilages and the lower third contains the tip, also composed of cartilage. Finally, the nasal bones make up the bridge, or dorsum, of the nose. These bones are relatively weak and are often repositioned during surgery. The septum is the primary support structure of the nose and separates the right and left side.

Cosmetically, the rhinoplasty can increase or decrease the overall size of the nose or nostrils, remove a hump, and reshape the bridge or tip. Medically, rhinoplasty can alter the anatomy of the nose to treat snoring and impediments to breathing. Often, the nose can be both aesthetically and functionally enhanced during the same procedure.