Rhinoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that corrects the size and shape of a person’s nose. The most common reasons for pursuing a rhinoplasty are: 

  • Decreasing the size of your nose
  • Narrowing your nose
  • Correcting bumps or straightness
  • Reducing a bulbous tip
  • Opening nasal passages 

There are two different types of rhinoplasty: open and closed. Both have their benefits, and a surgeon will walk you through the steps of each for your specific case. In this article, we’ll describe open vs. closed rhinoplasty as well as the pros and cons of each procedure so you can determine the best rhinoplasty technique for your nose.

Open Rhinoplasty


In an open rhinoplasty, a cosmetic surgeon makes two incisions inside the nostrils and a third on the columella, the bridge of skin between the nostrils. This incision is made to gain greater visibility than closed rhinoplasty. 

The nose is then pulled back so the surgeon can remove any unnecessary cartilage before reshaping. After reshaping, sutures close the incisions, and your cosmetic surgeon will place either a splint or cast on your nose. 

Ideal Nose Shapes

Open rhinoplasties effectively treat nearly all nasal issues, such as: 

  • Deformities
  • Crooked noses
  • Wide noses
  • Upturned noses
  • Nose bumps
  • Low nasal bridges
  • Drooping nose tips

We recommend talking with a rhinoplasty surgeon to see which type of surgery is necessary to achieve your cosmetic goals. 


Compared to a closed rhinoplasty, recovery from an open rhinoplasty is much longer. There is more swelling and bruising because an open rhinoplasty enables the cosmetic surgeon to make more substantial alterations. 

The cast or splint will stay on for about a week to ensure your nose properly sets, but expect some swelling for about a month. Additional swelling around the lips and cheeks, along with bruising, will subside after two weeks, but overall, this procedure can take up to a year to fully heal. 


  • Open rhinoplasties offer enhanced visibility to the surgeon, which can mean more precise and detailed rhinoplasty results
  • Open rhinoplasties reduce the chance for error or breathing issues since the surgeon can be more precise and delicate with their procedure. 


  • This technique includes an additional incision on the columella, which can scar. However, in most cases, this scar can heal and become nearly invisible. 

Closed Rhinoplasty


A surgeon will sedate you with anesthesia in a closed rhinoplasty before making two incisions within the nostrils. Unlike the open rhinoplasty, there are no incisions visible from the outside. Your cosmetic surgeon will make all the incisions within your nose, which means you will have no visible scars

After the incisions, the nose will be reworked to meet your cosmetic goals before the surgeon closes the incisions with sutures. Lastly, a cast will be placed over the nose. 

Ideal Nose Shapes

Closed rhinoplasties work best with patients who want work done toward the top of their nose. A closed rhinoplasty is effective in treating crooked and wide noses. Ideally, if your cosmetic goals are minor and do not require a significant amount of work, they can usually be done with a closed rhinoplasty. For more significant changes, you will need the increased visibility that isn’t available in closed rhinoplasty. 


Since there’s usually less work done on the nose in a closed rhinoplasty, the recovery time is shorter. After your doctor removes the cast or splint from your nose, the swelling and bruising should start to fade. On average, people return to their routines after three days and can safely return to work after about a week. 


  • Closed rhinoplasties tend to have shorter recovery times compared to open rhinoplasties. 
  • Closed rhinoplasties do not have the additional scar from the third incision on the columella. 
  • For minimal surgical needs, closed rhinoplasties can be a very practical solution. 


  • A closed rhinoplasty may not be capable of addressing your cosmetic desires as there is decreased visibility, and it is more challenging to do extensive work or work on the nasal tip. 

Is Open or Closed Rhinoplasty Best?

On the surface, neither technique is better than the other. However, there are different situations that your cosmetic surgeon chooses between open vs. closed to treat the work you need to achieve your cosmetic goals. In addition, the rhinoplasty recovery timeline vary depending on which technique you get, but this may be unavoidable depending on the extent of work necessary. 

Find a Cosmetic Surgeon That Performs Your Ideal Procedure

Not all surgeons perform both types of procedures, so don’t settle for a surgeon that won’t be able to meet your cosmetic needs. Cosmetic surgery is a big decision, so you want the best results possible. 

Dr. Dominic Castellano at Elite Facial Plastic Surgery is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon that performs both open and closed rhinoplasty. To talk with Dr. Dominic about whether open vs. closed rhinoplasty is right for your nose, call us today.

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