Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated nasal septum – a displacement of the bone and cartilage that divides your two nostrils. During septoplasty, your nasal septum is repositioned. This may require your surgeon to cut and remove parts of your septum before repositioning it.
When planning septoplasty, your surgeon considers your symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, and the physical structure and features of your nose.

Why Septoplasty is done?

Ideally, the nasal septum is positioned in the center (midline) of the inside of your nose so that the airway on each side is about equal. However, you may have a deviated septum, in which the septum is displaced to one side. A deviated septum can cause breathing difficulty and sometimes can contribute to other symptoms such as nosebleeds.
If you experience symptoms, such as nasal airway obstruction, that significantly affect your quality of life, you may consider surgery to correct a deviated septum.

Risks of Septoplasty

As with any major surgery, septoplasty carries risks, such as bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. Other possible risks specific to septoplasty include:

  • Persistence in previous symptoms, such as nasal obstruction, despite surgery

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Change in the shape of your nose

  • An opening in the septum (septal perforation)

  • Scarring

  • Decrease in sense of smell

  • A collection of blood in the nasal space that would need to be drained (septal hematoma)

Before Septoplasty

Before scheduling septoplasty, you must meet with your surgeon to discuss benefits and risks of the surgery. This meeting generally includes:

Your medical history
Your doctor asks questions about conditions you have or have had, as well as any current medications.
A physical examination
Your doctor conducts a physical examination, including any relevant testing. He or she also inspects your skin and the inside and outside of your nose.
Photographs
Someone from your doctor’s office may take photographs of your nose from different angles. Your doctor may use these photos for discussion before septoplasty, or for reference during and after surgery.
A discussion of your expectations
You and your doctor should talk about your expectations. He or she explains what septoplasty can and can’t do for you and what your results might be.

Before septoplasty, you may also need to:

Avoid certain medications
Avoid medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen for two weeks before surgery and two weeks after surgery. These medications may increase bleeding. Take only those medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon.
If you smoke, stop smoking
Smoking slows the healing process after surgery.

During Septoplasty

Septoplasty requires local or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the surgery and your surgeon’s preferences.

Local anesthesia
This type of anesthesia is usually used in an outpatient setting and is limited to a specific area of your body. Your doctor injects a pain-numbing medication into your nasal tissues and sedates you with medication injected through an intravenous (IV) line.
General anesthesia
You receive the drug (anesthetic) by inhaling it or through an IV line. General anesthesia affects your entire body and induces a temporary state of unconsciousness.
During surgery, the incision is closed with absorbable thread. Soft silicone splints may be inserted inside each nostril to support the septum. To prevent postoperative bleeding, your doctor may place bandage-like material in your nose.

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After Septoplasty

To further decrease the chances of bleeding and swelling, your doctor may ask that you follow these precautions for several weeks after surgery:

  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging.

  • Don’t blow your nose.

  • Elevate your head when you’re sleeping.

  • Wear clothes that fasten in the front; don’t pull clothing, such as shirts or sweaters, over your head.

Results

Though results are permanent, cartilage and tissue may gradually move or reshape over time. Because of the slow healing process, final results may not be evident for up to a year or more after surgery.
Most people find that septoplasty improves their symptoms, such nasal obstruction, caused by a deviated septum. The level of improvement you can expect with septoplasty may vary.
Some people find that their symptoms continue even after surgery and opt to undergo a revision septoplasty to further refine the nose and septum.