Closed vs. Open Rhinoplasty—Which Procedure Is Better?

Rhinoplasty, often referred to as a “nose job” or “nose reshaping,” is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure for both cosmetic and functional nose reshaping. It primarily follows two surgical approaches: open and closed rhinoplasty. While both methods aim to achieve enhanced aesthetics and functionality, closed rhinoplasty is often a surgeon preference due to its lesser scarring and improved healing attributes.

Expert rhinoplasty surgeon Dr. Justin Bellamy delves into the nuances of closed vs. open rhinoplasty, with the goal of helping potential rhinoplasty patients determine which approach is best for them and their aesthetic and functional goals.  

Understanding Open and Closed Rhinoplasty

Open and closed rhinoplasty are two procedures that achieve a similar goal—modifying the appearance and function of the nose so it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Open rhinoplasty involves an external incision along the columella (the narrow strip of tissue between the nostrils). This incision allows the surgeon to lift the skin and directly access the nasal structures. The open method is often chosen for extensive reshaping or in revision rhinoplasty cases.

In comparison, closed rhinoplasty entails incisions within the nostrils, eliminating visible external scarring. This approach provides a direct access to the nasal framework while maintaining the nose’s natural shape and minimizing scarring. It’s often preferred for less complex procedures or when minor alterations are necessary.

Procedure Time and Surgical Approach

The duration of a rhinoplasty procedure can vary based on the complexity of the case, patient anatomy, and the surgical approach employed.

Generally, open rhinoplasty takes a longer time to complete when compared to closed rhinoplasty due to the additional incision and the more extensive exposure of the nasal structures. The meticulous detailing possible in open rhinoplasty often demands a longer surgery to ensure precision and satisfactory outcome.

On the other hand, closed rhinoplasty tends to be quicker as it involves fewer incisions, which also contributes to a shorter recovery time and more desirable surgical outcomes.

Pros and Cons of Open and Closed Rhinoplasty

Open and closed rhinoplasty each has their benefits and drawbacks with most patients opting for closed rhinoplasty after weighing their options.


  • Open Rhinoplasty. The external incision on the columella in open rhinoplasty can result in a visible scar, although it’s usually small and may fade over time.
  • Closed Rhinoplasty. With all incisions inside the nostrils, closed rhinoplasty virtually eliminates visible scarring, offering a significant advantage for those concerned about post-operative marks.

Recovery Time

  • Open Rhinoplasty. The recovery time tends to be longer due to the extensive dissection and external incision. Swelling and bruising may persist for a longer period.
  • Closed Rhinoplasty. Typically, patients experience a quicker recovery with less swelling and bruising, owing to the less invasive nature of this approach.

Risks and Benefits

  • Open Rhinoplasty. Though the external incision poses a slight risk of visible scarring, the open approach provides extensive access and visibility, allowing for precise and comprehensive reshaping.
  • Closed Rhinoplasty. While minimizing scarring risks, the closed approach may limit the surgeon’s access to nasal structures, possibly affecting the ability to make more extensive modifications.

Cost Differences

The cost of rhinoplasty varies significantly between the open and closed approaches, influenced by factors such as surgical techniques, surgeon expertise, geographic location, and post-operative care.

Open rhinoplasty, often employed for more complex or extensive reshaping, tends to be costlier due to longer surgery duration, possible higher surgeon fees, and an extended recovery that might incur additional post-operative care expenses.

Conversely, closed rhinoplasty, typically chosen for less complex cases, usually entails shorter procedure time, quicker recovery, and consequently, lower overall costs.

Patient Satisfaction and Aesthetic Results

The satisfaction rates and aesthetic outcomes are crucial considerations when opting for either open or closed rhinoplasty. Patient satisfaction often hinges on the fulfillment of pre-surgery expectations, the extent of improvement in aesthetic and functional aspects, and the overall experience during the recovery period.

In terms of aesthetic results, both open and closed rhinoplasty can yield excellent outcomes, but the level of satisfaction may vary based on individual expectations and the complexity of the nasal issues addressed. Open rhinoplasty provides a comprehensive visualization of the nasal anatomy, allowing for precise alterations and potentially superior outcomes in complex cases. However, the external incision could potentially leave a small scar, which might affect some patients’ satisfaction.

Closed rhinoplasty, with its no visible scar advantage, often leads to higher satisfaction rates, especially among patients concerned about post-operative scarring. The aesthetic results might be comparable to open rhinoplasty in cases of less complex nasal modifications.

Moreover, the quicker recovery and lesser post-operative swelling associated with closed rhinoplasty contributes to higher initial satisfaction rates post-surgery, with fewer surgical complications, better healing, and increased functional benefits.

Rhinoplasty Surgery in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Taking the leap toward rhinoplasty is a substantial decision, and your choice of surgeon is paramount in navigating this journey successfully. Along with traditional open and closed rhinoplasty, Dr. Justin Bellamy, one of Florida’s premier plastic surgeons, employs contemporary ethnic rhinoplasty techniques to help you realize your aesthetic aspirations while honoring your ethnic heritage and preservation rhinoplasty to maintain more of the nasal structure.

As you explore the avenues of rhinoplasty, the closed method emerges as a generally favorable option. With minimized scarring and a quicker recovery, closed rhinoplasty often aligns seamlessly with the bustling lifestyles of many patients. Moreover, the technique lends itself to a more cost-effective and less invasive solution for those seeking subtle refinements.

Reach out to Dr. Bellamy now for your personalized consultation, and learn how closed rhinoplasty can deliver exquisite, natural-looking results and help you achieve your aesthetic goals.