The nose is the most central feature of the face. Modern nasal surgery takes into account the cosmetic appearance of the nose, but also seeks to improve the natural functions of the nose. The nose allows passage of air to the lungs, while filtering, warming and humidifying it.
There are many possible causes of nasal obstruction, including a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates or nasal valve collapse. The nasal septum is the internal wall that divides the left and right nasal passages. A deviation, or twist, of the septum can extend into the air passageway and give a sense of nasal congestion.
The inferior turbinates are "wings" of bone that extend from the sidewalls of the nose and are covered by mucus membranes. The mucus membranes covering the turbinates alternate in swelling; while one side swells, the other shrinks, usually every 3 to 4 hours. These bones are sometimes too large, or simply extend too directly into the airway. Depending on the specific problem, the turbinates can be pushed out of the airway or trimmed.
A collapsed nasal valve can be the result of surgery or trauma. Injury or weakening of the nasal cartilages of the tip or sidewalls can distort the appearance of the nose and cause nasal obstruction, which is often worse when breathing deeply.