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  • Writer's pictureAesthetic Skin

Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty Techniques and Historical Milestones

Updated: Jun 26

black and white drawing of a face, showing facial anatomy after a rhinoplasty


 Rhinoplasty, commonly referred to as a "nose job," is a cosmetic surgery procedure aimed at enhancing facial harmony and the proportions of the nose. It can also correct impaired breathing caused by structural defects in the nose. This procedure has evolved significantly over the centuries, incorporating various techniques that cater to specific anatomical and aesthetic needs. Two primary approaches to rhinoplasty are the open (external) and closed (endonasal) techniques. The history of rhinoplasty is rich and varied, tracing back to ancient civilizations, with significant advancements contributing to what it has become today.

History of Rhinoplasty

 The origins of rhinoplasty can be traced back to ancient Egypt and India. However, the first recorded rhinoplasty procedure was described in ancient India by the physician Sushruta in 600 BCE, which is documented in the Sushruta Samhita. His method, primarily aimed at reconstructing noses that were amputated as a form of punishment, involved using a piece of tissue from the cheek to reconstruct the nose, a technique that laid the groundwork for modern rhinoplasty. The technique was brought to the Western world in the late 18th century by British physicians who observed it in India. The development in the 19th and 20th centuries focused on internal nasal corrections, with surgeons like John Orlando Roe and Jacques Joseph advancing the aesthetic and reconstructive techniques that form the basis of modern rhinoplasty.

Open vs. Closed Rhinoplasty

 The choice between open and closed rhinoplasty depends largely on the specific needs of the patient and the surgeon's preference based on the complexity of the surgery required.

Closed Rhinoplasty

This technique involves incisions made within the nostrils, thereby leaving no visible scars. It offers the benefit of reduced operative time, less swelling during recovery, and shorter overall recovery time. However, it provides limited visibility and access to the underlying nasal structures, which can be a constraint when performing more complex modifications.

Open Rhinoplasty

In contrast, open rhinoplasty involves an incision across the columella (the soft tissue between the nostrils), which allows the skin to be lifted off the tip of the nose and the nasal structures to be viewed directly. This approach provides the surgeon with better visibility and access to the nasal structure, which is particularly beneficial for intricate or major reshaping. The downside is a small scar on the underside of the nose and potentially longer recovery periods due to more extensive dissection.

Advancements and Innovations in Rhinoplasty

 Significant advancements have been made in the field of rhinoplasty over the years, focusing on improving outcomes both functionally and aesthetically. One notable advancement is the development of the "pyriform aperture enlargement" technique. Dr. Anil Shah, a prominent figure in modern rhinoplasty, pioneered this technique to address the challenges associated with narrow nasal apertures in rhinoplasty. This innovation is particularly useful in patients with a narrow nasal entrance or those requiring significant tip support and restructuring, offering a more effective and aesthetic solution.


Rhinoplasty remains one of the most challenging yet rewarding cosmetic surgeries. From its ancient origins to the sophisticated surgical techniques developed by pioneers like Dr. Anil Shah, rhinoplasty has grown to be a highly specialized field in plastic surgery that helps thousands achieve better nasal function and facial harmony each year. As techniques continue to evolve, the focus remains on improving safety, minimizing recovery time, and enhancing aesthetic outcomes for patients worldwide.

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