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Frank Agullo, MD En Español

Open Nose Surgery vs. Closed Nose Surgery

December 20, 2017 | Rhinoplasty

rhinoplasty-before-and-after-agullo-case-1-2Rhinoplasty can be performed using one of two surgical approaches: an open or closed technique. Here are some of the differences between these two techniques and how to know which one could be better for your needs.

Open Rhinoplasty

Open rhinoplasty is so named because the surgeon has an open, unobstructed view of the inside of the nose. To have this view, the surgeon places a minor incision at the base of the strip of tissue between the nostrils. This allows the surgeon to separate the skin and open up the nose to freely adjust the nasal structures as desired.


  • The surgeon has a clear view of all nasal structures.
  • The surgeon has easy access to all the nasal structures.
  • The surgeon can perform extensive correction and adjustments.
  • Very precise changes are possible.


  • There will be a small scar at the base of the nose.
    • Scarring is usually not noticeable afterward.
  • The procedure takes longer to complete.
  • The recovery and healing process can be slower.

Closed Rhinoplasty

Closed rhinoplasty is so named because the surgeon’s view is partially closed off and the skin remains closed on the nose. Instead of making an external incision to open up the nose, the surgeon leaves the skin intact and makes only small incisions inside the nostrils. Through these internal incisions, the surgeon manipulates the nasal tissues and adjusts the shape of the nose.


  • There will be no noticeable scarring.
  • The procedure is typically shorter.
  • The recovery and healing process may be faster.


  • The surgeon’s view and access are much more obstructed.
  • Many changes are more difficult to accomplish.
  • Fewer adjustments are possible.

Choosing Your Rhinoplasty Technique

While all of these factors can affect whether closed or open rhinoplasty is best for you, there are two critical points you should consider above all. First, what changes would you like to make? If you desire certain extensive corrections that are not possible with closed rhinoplasty, you will naturally be guided toward open rhinoplasty. Second, how concerned are you about the possibility of scarring? If the chance of an external scar is objectionable to you, you will naturally be guided toward closed rhinoplasty. Bear in mind that your concerns about scarring should be secondary in importance to the desired adjustments. The scar will not necessarily be noticeable after open rhinoplasty, as any scar may heal so well as to become virtually undetectable even at a close range. Once you have decided how you would like to improve the appearance of your nose, you should schedule your consultation with Dr. Agullo. He will recommend whether open rhinoplasty or closed rhinoplasty will be better for your needs.