Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum so that better airflow is allowed through your nose.
Some facts about Septoplasty Surgery:
- The wall of bone and cartilage that divides your nose into two separate nostrils is the septum. When your septum is moved to one side of your nose, a deviated septum occurs.
- Usually a deviated septum is a birth defect. However, it can also be caused by an injury to your nose.
- Most people with a deviated septum will have one nasal passage that is much smaller than the other causing difficulty breathing.
- Frequent nosebleeds and facial pain are other symptoms of a deviated septum.
- Surgery is the only way to fix a deviated septum in which the septum will be straighten.
- The risk of sinus infections can be increased due to poor drainage.
- Your nasal septum is repositioned to the middle of your nose during septoplasty.
- Parts of your nasal septum will be cut and removed before reinserting them in the proper position.
- Difficulty breathing through one or both sides of your nose can be a cause of deviated septum as it can block one side of your nose and reduce airflow.
- Cartilage, bone or both can be trimmed, repositioned and replaced to straightens the nasal septum.
- You may consider surgery to fix a deviated septum if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing through your nose that affect your quality of life.
- Bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to the anesthetic are some of the common risk associated with Septoplasty Surgery.
- Excessive bleeding, a change in the shape of your nose, a hole in the septum, decreased sense of smell, clotted blood in the nasal space that has to be drained, temporary numbness in the upper gum, teeth or nose are other possible risks specific to septoplasty.
- Additional surgery may be required to treat some of these complications.
Preparation for Septoplasty Surgery:
- Discuss the benefits and risks of the surgery with your doctor before scheduling septoplasty.
- Your medical history will be discussed with your doctor including current medications or supplements that you are taking.
- A physical exam, including any relevant tests will be done to inspect your skin and the inside and outside of your nose.
- Photographs of your nose will be taken from different angles to be used as reference during and after surgery.
- The photos from before and after the procedure can be compared to help you see how your nose has changed.
- Medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) should be avoided before and after surgery as these may increase bleeding.
- Only those medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon should be taken.
- Stop smoking if you are smoking as it increases your risk of having problems during and after surgery. Smoking can also slow the healing process.
- You will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure to help prevent you from vomiting and choking if you become nauseated from the anesthesia during surgery.
Procedure for Septoplasty Surgery:
- Usually a septoplasty takes about 30 to 90 minutes to complete, depending on the complexity of the condition.
- Either local or general anesthesia will be used during the procedure depending on how complex your surgery is, and what you and your surgeon prefer.
- Pain numbing medication or local anesthetic will be injected by your doctor into your nasal tissues to make you groggy but not fully unconscious. This can be done using IV medication if you will also be sedated.
- You inhale an anesthetic agent or receive an anesthetic through an IV line with general anesthesia which affects your entire body and induces a temporary state of unconsciousness.
- An incision will be made by the surgeon on one side of your nose to access the septum.
- The mucous membrane, which is the protective covering of the septum will be lifted and the deviated septum is moved into the right position.
- Any barriers, such as cartilage or extra pieces of bone will be removed and the mucous membrane will be repositioned.
- The incision will be closed with absorbable suture during surgery.
- Soft silicone splints will be inserted inside each nostril to support the septum.
- Your doctor may place bandage like material in your nose to prevent postoperative bleeding.
- You will be moved to a recovery room after the surgery, where you will be monitored and watched for any complications by the staff.
- You will likely be able to go home the same day as this procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis.
Recovery from Septoplasty Surgery:
- You may need to follow some precautions for several weeks after surgery to further decrease the chances of bleeding and swelling.
- You may not need to elevate your head when you're sleeping.
- Avoid blowing your nose for several weeks.
- Avoid pulling clothing, such as shirts or sweaters, over your head. It is advisable to wear clothes that fasten in the front.
- Strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging, should be avoided for up to five weeks to avoid potentially causing a nosebleed.
- Your nasal tissues will be relatively stable with in three to six months after surgery.
- There is a possibility of moving or reshaping of cartilage and tissue over time.
- Difficulty breathing, that were caused by a deviated septum can be improved by septoplasty. However, the expected level of improvement with septoplasty varies by person.