ENT or plastic surgeon for rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty is a challenging surgical procedure that can change a person’s life and thus, it is important to leave your nose in trustworthy hands. To find the best nose job surgeon, patients always ask this question: ENT or plastic surgeon for rhinoplasty, which one is better for my case?

Do you also find it difficult to choose between an ENT specialist and a plastic surgeon for nose job surgery? Well, do not worry. In this article, we will explain all the detail you need to make an easy and wise decision.

Without further ado, let’s go to find the answer to the common question, “who is better for a rhinoplasty, a plastic surgeon or ENT doctors?”

What is the difference between ENT and plastic surgeon?

To perform rhinoplasty one doctor must undergo years of further academic education and training through the related specialty and subspecialties. ENT and plastic surgery are these related fields. The main difference between an ENT specialist and a plastic surgeon is their field of expertise and the specialty they choose. Let us take a quick look at the journey of these specialties. (1)

Beyond ears, nose, and throat: The role of ENT specialists

Have you ever thought about what ENT stands for? The answer is ear, nose, and throat.

An ENT specialist, or an otolaryngologist, is specialized in diagnosing and treating the problems of the ear, nose, throat, neck, and the structures associated with them. They undergo extensive training which enables them to perform complex surgeries whether functional or cosmetic, in the related area.

An ENT specialist can pursue higher levels of education by choosing a subspecialty. Among the eight different sub-specialties, facial plastic, and reconstructive surgery is a branch that focuses on the aesthetic and functional improvement of facial structures and the neck. The additional knowledge of surgical techniques makes them highly qualified to perform complex facial plastic surgery procedures such as rhinoplasty.

The art & science of rhinoplasty: Skills of plastic surgeons

A plastic surgeon is a specialized doctor that repairs damaged body parts, restores their normal function, and reconstructs them through complex surgical procedures. Throughout their residency, they are trained in general surgery and plastic surgery which focuses on restoring the function and appearance of a body part affected by trauma or accident.

There are six different subspecialties of plastic surgery. Aesthetic surgery is one that mostly focuses on cosmetic procedures. During the aesthetic surgery fellowship, the surgeon gets additional training to perform different types of beauty procedures such as the difficult rhinoplasty surgery. 

At what point do they share similarities?

Despite all the differences, ENT specialists and plastic surgeons who regularly practice rhinoplasty, share similarities. Throughout their professional nose job journey, they cross paths many times. But how is this possible? The similarities between them are:

  • Surgical techniques
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Initial medical education

Let us go through the details for each one of them.

Surgical Techniques

It does not matter which specialty carries out the operation, surgical techniques, and approaches are always the same. To begin nose surgery, there are two approaches: The open rhinoplasty approach and the closed rhinoplasty approach. It does not matter if your surgeon is a plastic surgeon or an ENT specialist, both perform the surgery via one of these approaches. The decision on which approach to use depends on the patient’s requests and the changes in the nose.

The same goes for other nose job techniques. Whether through plastic surgery or otolaryngology, the techniques taught are the same. The nose is reshaped by the same surgical procedures in both specialties.

Cosmetic surgery

When plastic surgeons and otolaryngologists decide to engage in facial cosmetic procedures, they somehow share the journey. The principles for cosmetic surgery are the same for both specialties. They both should have an in-depth understanding of the anatomy of the face. As we mentioned before, there is no difference in the surgical techniques they perform. Therefore, when they choose the cosmetic section, their work is similar and sometimes even almost identical.

Initial medical education

The road to becoming a nose surgeon starts with medical school. This level of education is the same for both otolaryngologists and plastic surgeons. That is the first step where the similarity between ENT specialists and plastic surgeons begins to emerge. Once they graduate from medical school they choose different specialties and that is where they part ways. 

Who is better for a rhinoplasty: a plastic surgeon or an ENT doctor?

Answering this question is no easy task. Direct comparison between these two specialties is not actually essential. Each specialist has their own particular qualifications that make them eligible for performing the surgery.

An ENT doctor has a vast understanding of the anatomy of the nasal cavity. They improve functional issues such as breathing problems, sinus problems, and other functional nasal issues while improving the cosmetic aspects of the nose. On the other hand, a plastic surgeon is specialized in surgical interventions to reconstruct not only the nose but the whole body.

 SpecialtySeptoplastyEthnic rhinoplastyRevision rhinoplasty
ENT doctor
  • ENT special training: 3 years
  • General surgery training: 1 year
  • Advanced training at an approved institution as a chief resident: 1 year
ENT is a better optionExperience is requiredSkillful and well-trained
Plastic surgeon
  • Plastic surgery training: 3 years
  • General surgery training: 3 years
More experience is requiredA plastic surgeon is preferableSkillful and well-trained

If the doctor seeks to achieve more credibility and a higher level of education, the board certification is a way to do so. These kinds of organizations are a great option for plastic surgeons who want to improve their skills. The board certifications provide the opportunity for ENT doctors who want to take one step further in their area of expertise.

So, again this question pops up, ENT or plastic surgeon for rhinoplasty?

When deciding on rhinoplasty surgery, it’s important to consider what outcomes you desire.

If both cosmetic and functional concerns are important to you, it might be best to consult with an ENT doctor. They have a comprehensive understanding of nasal structures and can address any functional issues you may have with your nose. An ENT surgeon can identify and treat underlying causes of nasal issues beyond the nose, resolving functional issues.

However, it’s important to note that a plastic surgeon with extensive experience and additional training can also perform nose surgery to treat functional issues.

If you want to undergo an ethnic rhinoplasty, a plastic surgeon can be a better choice. Through years of plastic surgery training, they care about all the cosmetic aspects of different ethnicities. They create a nose shape that is in great harmony with the other facial features while preserving the patient’s ethnic identity. 

Saying that an ENT specialist is able to perform this procedure after years of continuous work in the field of ethnic rhinoplasty. That is because the one-size-fits-all approach is of no use anymore.

Which one should I choose: ENT or plastic surgeon?

Regardless of their specialized training, you should see how often a surgeon performs rhinoplasty. As they always say, practice makes perfect. The best option is a rhinoplasty surgeon who frequently does nose surgeries and mainly works on nasal surgeries. An ENT specialist or a plastic surgeon that performs all kinds of cosmetic surgeries has less experience in nose jobs. As a result, the surgical outcomes might not be that satisfying.

The final decision on which doctor to choose is completely personal. Go over your requirements precisely and choose your doctor based on them.

Remember to always look for a nose surgeon who regularly performs this delicate procedure. In addition to extensive surgical training, your doctor should be highly experienced and have a deep understanding of what the patients desire. You can always check the reviews of previous surgeries and ask for before-after photos to decide on which doctor to choose: ENT or plastic surgeon for a rhinoplasty operation. Prefer experience and skillfulness over the medical field.

☑ Pick an expert with years of experience in nose jobs for the best results.

☑ Check out their reviews and before-and-after photos.

☑ Prioritize skill and experience over the surgeon’s medical field.

☑ Choose a surgeon with a deep understanding of what patients desire.

☑ Your choice of surgeon is a personal one, pick a surgeon based on your specific needs.

This has been our article on whether an ENT specialist or a plastic surgeon is better for rhinoplasty. We hope this article had helped you out of that dilemma. If you have any further questions or require more detail, feel free to ask. We will be more than happy to assist you.

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