Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty: What's the Difference?

By dustinheringer on February 29, 2020

A side-by-side illustration of open and closed rhinoplastyRhinoplasty can bring balance to the face through the simple adjustment of the shape or size of the nose.

When considering rhinoplasty, it's beneficial to have a general understanding of open and closed rhinoplasty, the two techniques used in nose surgery. At Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery, we explain the differences between open versus closed rhinoplasty to patients from Scottsdale, AZ, Peoria, and Phoenix. For more information, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dustin Heringer.

The Open Rhinoplasty Technique

With open rhinoplasty, incisions are made on the outside of the nose around and between the nostrils. This allows the surgeon to flip the skin of the nasal tip upward, providing greater access to the internal structures of the nose.

Cartilage can then be removed or added and the nasal bones may be reshaped. Skin from the nostrils may also be removed if needed to achieve the patient's desired results.

Those who would like significant changes made to their nose, for example by removing a nasal hump, may better benefit from open rhinoplasty over closed rhinoplasty.

The Closed Rhinoplasty Technique

With closed rhinoplasty, all incisions are made inside the nostrils. The skin is then separated from the underlying nasal structures, which can then be shaped and adjusted by the surgeon.

Because access to the nasal structures is more limited with closed rhinoplasty, it is generally best suited for those who only want minor reshaping of the nose.

Other Considerations

Both open and closed rhinoplasty can achieve exceptional results when it comes to improving the proportions and aesthetics of the nose. One technique isn't inherently better than the other but one technique may be better for a patient's particular needs and desired outcomes.

With that said, the following are a few other considerations to consider when comparing open versus closed rhinoplasty.


Scarring occurs in both open and closed rhinoplasty but is only visible on the outside of the nose when the open rhinoplasty technique is used.

Although scars from open rhinoplasty are left on the outside of the nose, the incision between the nostrils is made at the bottom of the nose. This helps make scarring less visible.

With the closed rhinoplasty technique, all incisions are made within the nose, hiding scars inside the nostrils.

Recovery Time

Both open and closed rhinoplasty require some time for patients to recover before returning to their normal activities.

The exact length of time for recovery will vary by patient; however, patients who undergo open rhinoplasty should expect a longer recovery than those who have closed rhinoplasty.

Recovery from open rhinoplasty is often longer because those who undergo open rhinoplasty typically require more reshaping and more sutures to secure the skin that was pulled back during surgery.  

Common Side Effects

After open or closed rhinoplasty, patients should expect some common side effects, primarily bruising and swelling.

The good news for those who undergo closed rhinoplasty is that they generally experience less bruising and swelling than those who have open rhinoplasty due to the fact that closed rhinoplasty is less invasive.

Choosing Between Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty

If you are considering rhinoplasty and live in Scottsdale, Peoria, Phoenix, or surrounding areas, Dr. Heringer can work with you to determine which technique is best suited to help you achieve your desired appearance. Please call (480) 949-5990 to schedule your consultation.

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