Open Versus Closed Rhinoplasty

Open vs. Closed RhinoplastyRhinoplasty is one of the most complex procedures plastic surgeons perform. It improves the position of oversized, crooked or asymmetrical noses, and refines specific features of the nose like the nasal bridge, nostrils or tip.

Plastic surgeons can perform rhinoplasty two different ways: the open technique and the closed.  Though the open and closed approaches are similar, they differ in how the surgeon accesses and exposes the nasal framework (e.g., the bone and cartilage of the nose). This important distinction affects the ease of the procedure and the quality of the result. Each approach has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

To help you become more informed about the available rhinoplasty options, Dr. Michael Byun breaks down the differences between open rhinoplasty and closed rhinoplasty here.

Open Rhinoplasty


Open rhinoplasty is performed through a small incision across the columella, the strip of skin separating the nostrils. The nasal skin is carefully separated from the underlying bone and cartilage before making the necessary surgical modifications.


Visible scarring across the columella is possible with open rhinoplasty. However, as long as the incision is precisely planned, the patient takes good care of it and the incision heals well, scarring across the columella should fade significantly over time. Once the scar has completely healed, it should be barely visible.


The biggest benefit to open rhinoplasty is great visibility and access to the structures of the nose that need to be reshaped.

Closed Rhinoplasty


Closed rhinoplasty is performed through incisions created within the nostrils. No part of the incisions can be seen externally. Because the incisions offer less exposure and access to the underlying bone and cartilage, closed rhinoplasty requires a particularly experienced plastic surgeon with a specific skill set.


There are no visible scars from closed rhinoplasty because the incisions are hidden within the nostrils.


In addition to no visible scarring, closed rhinoplasty can result in slightly less swelling after surgery than open rhinoplasty.

Final Thoughts

Whether you undergo open or closed rhinoplasty, it is important that you feel completely confident in the expertise and skill of your surgeon. You can rest assured that you are in good hands with Dr. Byun. Recognized as one of the leading plastic surgeons in Chicago, Dr. Byun is extremely talented and respected. He would be happy to explain your rhinoplasty options during an in-person consultation. Contact our plastic surgery practice to request an appointment.