Why Do We Prefer the External Approach?

B-ENT. 2010;6 Suppl 15:35-9.


Open structure rhinoplasty (OSR) is an old technique that has gained in popularity amongst plastic surgeons and otolaryngologists over the past twenty years. Opponents of the external approach cite potential problems such as unnecessary scaring, reduction of tip support, extended operative time and excessive post-operative tip swelling. However, even relatively inexperienced rhinoplastic surgeons embrace this approach, especially in cases with more complex tip deformities and skeletal abnormalities. Concerns about scarring and post-operative tissue reaction due to the more "aggressive" external approach make it necessary to consider the indications for the open approach carefully. Various incisions have been described for open rhinoplasty to reduce scarring, such as the Z, V, reverse V, and W incisions. There should be a strong emphasis on post-operative care in open approach rhinoplasty since open structure rhinoplasty is generally considered to be a more traumatic technique than the endonasal approach. Careful incision and dissection of the skin flap in the right surgical plane and proper suturing are essential to avoid short- and long-term complications. In conclusion, the external approach is preferable in selected cases where extended exposure (asymmetry cases, for example), per-operative assessment (revision cases), grafting and suturing are required. It allows the surgeon to work bimanually during reconstruction and the better per-operative evaluation reduces the revision rate.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Postoperative Care
  • Reoperation
  • Rhinoplasty / adverse effects
  • Rhinoplasty / methods*