What is a Saddle Nose Deformity?

The nose structure is reliant on cartilage and bone to keep its shape for function and appearance. When the cartilage or bone is damaged, the bridge, nasal tip and nasal passages can be altered. If the damage is significant to the septum or other nasal cartilage structures, the nasal bridge can collapse. This is referred to as a saddle nose deformity, a common reason for rhinoplasty or nose reconstruction.

The bridge of the nose runs from between the eyes to the nasal tip. When the structural support is lost, it can sink, causing a deep depression on the lower half of the bridge. From the facial profile, the nose can resemble a horse’s saddle, thus the name “saddle nose deformity.” This is the first symptom of nasal collapse. Other changes to the nose can occur, including a deep horizontal crease across the lower nose where the bridge collapsed and an upturning of the nasal tip. The bridge can look shorter; with the over-rotated nasal tip, this is often called a “pug nose.”

Causes of Saddle Nose Deformities

Saddle nose deformities can occur due to a few different causes, including:

  • Trauma – saddle nose deformities have been called boxer’s nose due to the prevalence in athletes in this sport
  • Infections that cause cartilage damage
  • Diseases that attack cartilage
  • Intranasal illicit drug use or excessive use of nasal sprays

Saddle nose deformities can happen quickly or slowly over time. They can change the look of the nose and face; they can also cause breathing problems.

Repairing saddle nose deformities is possible with surgery, usually requiring cartilage grafting to restore the nasal structure. This is one of the more complex types of rhinoplasty and should only be performed by a facial plastic surgeon with extensive experience with saddle nose deformity repair.

Posted on behalf of:
Maurice M. Khosh, MD, FACS
580 Park Avenue, Suite 1BE
New York, NY 10065

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