Septoplasty is an operative procedure that corrects deviation of the nasal septum. The nasal septum is a bony cartilaginous wall that separates the two nasal cavities. The septum helps to support the nose and to regulate airflow. Deformities of the nasal septum are either present at birth (congenital) or occur from a traumatic injury to the nose. Septoplasty is performed to correct the shape of the nose or to correct breathing problems caused by a deformed septum.
Septoplasty is indicated in patients with a deviated nasal septum causing nasal obstruction, sinus pressure headaches, nosebleeds, and breathing problems. Septoplasty is often performed as part of plastic surgery of the nose, a procedure called rhinoplasty.
Before the surgery
Before performing the surgery, your surgeon will obtain your medical history and perform a physical examination. You may be asked to avoid certain medications that increase the risk of bleeding for a specified period. You should also stop smoking, as it delays the healing process. You should have someone available to drive you home after your procedure.
The goal of surgery is to improve the patients breathing through their nose.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made inside the nostril and the tissue covering the septum is elevated to make the deviated septum visible. The deviated part of the bone and cartilage is then removed or reshaped, while maintaining the shape of the nose. The mucous membranes are positioned back in place and the incision is closed using stitches.
Your surgeon may place splints inside the nose to keep your septum straight and reduce scar tissue formation during the healing process. Nose packing may also be inserted to prevent bleeding, but is usually not necessary.
You will be discharged to home either on the same day or the morning after the surgery. Rest with your head elevated on pillows to minimize swelling. Breathe through your mouth until you can breathe through your nose. Use ice packs as instructed to lessen pain and swelling. You can also use pain relievers to keep you comfortable. You should avoid blowing your nose and performing any strenuous exercises to minimize bleeding and swelling. If nasal bleeding is severe, immediately consult your physician.
Risks and complications
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with septoplasty surgery.
These risks include:
- Opening or hole in the nasal septum
- Change in the shape of your nose
- Decreased ability to smell
- Septal hematoma (collection of blood inside the septum)
- Persistent nasal obstruction