1 What is a Septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure done to reposition the nasal septum, a wall of bone and cartilage which divides the two human nostrils. It is basically the correction of the deviation or displacement from the center, of the nasal septum, through surgery.

The need for septoplasty is governed by certain symptoms like breathing difficulties apart from the physical structure and the natural features of the nose. A surgeon is able to throw more light on what can be achieved through septoplasty. So before deciding to undertake such a measure an in-depth discussion should be carried out with him.

Septoplasty may require cutting, removal and reinsertion of the septum parts at proper locations. The goal is to straighten & reposition the nasal septum in the middle of the nose. The breathing is likely to be easier with asymmetric nose structure.

2 Reasons for Procedure

The main reason for septoplasty is because of the significant deviation of the septum relative to the center. Such a severe condition can block one side of your nose resulting in reduced airflow.

This causes difficulty in breathing on one or both sides of the nose which significantly affects the quality of life. Sometimes, a deviated septum, because of the drying effect of airflows in the nose, can cause bleeding or crusting.

Septoplasty can remediate this by straightening the nasal septum which is carried out through trimming, replacement and repositioning of the bone or cartilage or both as required.

3 Potential Risks

Septoplasty is a major surgical procedure carrying many risks like any such involved manipulation of body parts. Some of the common risks associated with septoplasty are excessive bleeding, infection and an adverse effect of the anaesthetic.

There are many other risks like persistence of the nasal obstruction even after the surgery. The shape of the nose can get changed to some extent. Sometimes a condition called septal perforation (an opening in the septum) can arise.

In some cases, there can be a negative effect on the sense of smell of the individual. Another risk is the possibility of collection of blood in the nasal space which needs to be drained. This condition is referred to as a septal hematoma.

The risk of temporary numb sensation in the upper gums or teeth is also present. To rectify these risks and complications sometimes additional surgery may be required. In case the outcome of septoplasty is not up to the expectations then, one may have to resort to further surgery.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In order to prepare for the septoplasty, the first step before deciding on the procedure is to have a detailed meeting with the surgeon to discuss all the possible benefits and risks of the surgery. This meeting will include a detailed examination of the medical history. This will also include the description of all the symptoms and the present medications.

A physical examination will be carried out with testing. The doctor will inspect the skin around the area of the nose. He also inspects inner and outer sides the nose, thoroughly. Photographs are taken from many angles and used for discussion before septoplasty.

These provide good references before and after the surgery. A detailed discussion needs to be undertaken to check the patient’s expectations. The surgeon should make the limitations of the procedure clear and throw some light on what can be expected.

The discussions should also include the subject of foods and medications to be preferred or avoided. For example medicines with aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided two weeks before and after surgery as they result in an increase in bleeding. One important precaution is to stop smoking as it disturbs the healing process post-surgery.

5 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your procedure. Septoplasty is carried out effectively to straighten the nasal septum by making incisions inside the nose especially between the nostrils.

It may be necessary to make cuts in the bones too if the nasal bones are crooked thus pushing the septum off to one side. Sometimes spreader grafts may be used which are small strips of cartilage that reinforce and correct a deviated septum when the problem is along the bridge of the nose.

The procedure of septoplasty requires local or general anaesthesia. The choice is dependent on the complexity of the surgery as well as the preferences of the surgeon and the patient. Local anesthesia is limited to the nose.

This pain-numbing medicine is injected into the nasal tissue. This can be accompanied by sedation through an intravenous line. This makes one feel little numb but not completely unconscious. General anesthesia is inhaled or taken through an intravenous line and affects the whole body inducing a temporary state of unconsciousness.

The incisions are closed using absorbable suture. To support the septum, soft silicone splints may be inserted in the nostrils. Bandage-like stuff can be inserted inside the nose to prevent bleeding after the surgery. Patients may be able to go home the same day after staying in a recovery room for some time with proper monitoring.

Some important precautions may be advised after septoplasty to prevent the chances of bleeding and swelling. Strenuous exercise is to be avoided to prevent a rise in blood pressure which can cause a nosebleed. The patient is advised to avoid blowing the nose. While sleeping the head should be well elevated. Avoid clothes that have to be pulled over the head.

6 Procedure Results

If you do not understand your septoplasty results, consult with your doctor. Septoplasty is very likely to ease the symptoms linked to breathing difficulties due to a deviated septum.

The improvement levels may vary from case to case. The results are likely to be stable. The cartilage and tissue may slowly move or reshape with time.

The nasal tissues are likely to be stabilized within 3-6 months after the surgery but in some cases, recovery may even take up to one year.

If the symptoms related to difficulty in breathing continue even after the surgery, the patient may need to opt for revision of the whole procedure.