Functional Sculpting
of the Nasal Airway

Functional sculpting of the nasal airway is a noninvasive office treatment used to maximize the size of the internal passages of the nose without affecting the external appearance. It is used in those patients with breathing issues related to narrowing of the nasal valves or enlargement of the inferior or nasal turbinates.

This procedure uses a disposable handpiece specially designed to deliver low energy beneath the lining of the nose, causing the tissues to tighten and resist negative pressure caused by breathing. This keeps the nose open at the nasal valve area and improves airflow significantly. Performed by itself, it is done in the office under local anesthesia and takes approximately 15 minutes to perform. The physicians at the Nose and Sinus Institute of Boca Raton did the early research on this procedure ad have one of the largest continued experience with this in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Non-invasive sculpting of the nasal airway is a novel procedure to mimic the type of relief often found with ‘breathe-rite’ strips. The strips pull the sides of the nose out to allow more air to enter the nose. Medically speaking, strips open up the ‘nasal valve.’ Non-invasive sculpting accomplishes a similar result but without the need to continue to use nasal strips. A specially designed probe treats the lining of the inside of the nose with radiofrequency energy, which causes contraction of the inner lining of the nose to make it more resistant to collapsing when a breath of air is taken.

It is pretty straightforward for a patient to test themselves to see if they have nasal valve issues contributing to their breathing problems. If you put a finger where the bottom of the nose meets the cheek (outside of the nostril) and then pull up and towards the outside of the eye, that will mechanically open up the valve. If that provides breathing relief, then that may indicate an underlying valve narrowing. An alternative method of determination is to use a Breath Rite strip. Those function by pulling the walls of the nose in a lateral direction.

During your examination, Dr. Nachlas or Dr. Hancock will perform a test called the ‘Cottle maneuver’, whereby the valve will be mechanically opened to see if relief is obtained. If it is, this suggests the valve is insufficient or narrowed and contributing to nasal airway obstruction.

There are many causes of nasal obstruction. Understanding the complexities of both the inside and the outside of the nose are imperative to providing long lasting relief of sinonasal symptoms. Dr. Nathan E. Nachlas and Dr. Melyssa Hancock have extensive training in both the functional and structural sinonasal issues and offer an individualized approach to maximize results for every patient.

There are four major areas that are studied in evaluating a patient for nasal obstruction:  the nasal valves, the septum, the turbinates, and the sinuses.  Dr. Nachlas and Dr. Hancock will thoroughly evaluate each of these areas.  Most of the time, nasal obstruction is multifactorial, and each problem is addressed during the same office visit in a painless, minimally invasive fashion to provide relief.  Other nose and sinus procedures commonly performed at the same time as a functional sculpting procedure include:

Addressing any cosmetic concerns you have about your nose with a Rhinoplasty surgery can also be done during the same operative session. The Nose and Sinus Institute of Boca Raton pioneered the Total Nose Approach™ to sinonasal surgery where all of your functional sinonasal complaints and cosmetic concerns can be addressed during one surgery, with one anesthetic, and one recovery.

The quick answer to this is no. The changes are all internal. Having said that, there may be a period following non-invasive functional sculpting that the outside of the nose may feel swollen. Typically, this feeling resolves within several weeks and is unnoticeable to others.

There is no specific recovery. Since there is no cutting or dissection, patients return to all activities immediately. Occasionally, crusting can occur within the nose but this is temporary. If it occurs, then we ask that patient apply Vaseline inside the nostrils until it is resolved.


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