Septoplasty and Turbinectomy

1 What are Septoplasty and Turbinectomy?

A septoplasty is an operation to correct a deformity of the septum – the bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity of the nose in half.

A turbinectomy is a surgical reduction or actual removal of an abnormally enlarged turbinate from inside the nose to improve breathing.

Nasal obstruction is often caused by a deviated or crooked septum or enlarged tissues (inferior turbinates) within the nose and the goals of nasal airway surgery include: improving airflow through the nose, controlling the nosebleeds, relieving nasal or sinus headaches associated with swelling of the inside of the nose, enhancing visualization of the inside of the nose (to identify other nasal problems) and promoting drainage of the sinus cavities.

Before surgery, the patient will receive instructions about dietary or alcohol guidelines restrictions or the taking or avoiding of certain vitamins and instructions about eating and drinking limitations – these include even water, candy, or chewing gum.

Also, the patient must tell a surgeon about any allergies he/she is having as well as medications he/she is taking (over-the-counter and prescription medications, herbal supplements).

Both surgeries can be performed as an outpatient at either a hospital or surgical center. If the patient is sick or has a fever the day before surgery or on a day of surgery, he/she should call the doctor's office.

On the day of surgery, the patient should wear comfortable loose fitting clothes which do not have to be pulled over the head. A nurse will start an intravenous infusion line (IV) and the patient may be given a sedative medication to help him/her relax.

The entire procedure takes approximately one hour but this can vary greatly depending on the patient's anatomical considerations for the surgeon.

After the surgery, the patient will be in recovery room several hours. A friend or family member should pick the patient up from the surgical facility and take him/her home and spend the first night after surgery with the patient for assistance if necessary.

At home, the patient must rest with their head elevated on 2-3 pillows to minimize fluid accumulation in the tissues (edema) and swelling.

The patient may have some swelling of the nose, upper lip, cheeks, or around the eyes for several days after surgery but he/she can reduce the swelling by putting ice or frozen vegetable in packages (for example bags of frozen peas) on the face, bridge of the nose, and eyes as much as tolerated. Also, moderate bleeding from the nose is normal and will gradually decrease.

The gauze dressing ("mustache dressing") will collect blood and should be changed only when saturated, sometimes every hour during the first 24 hours after surgery but after a few days, patients will usually no longer need to use the dressing. Then, the patient will breathe through the nose but is not to blow or sneeze through the nose for 7 to 10 day.

Also, it is important that patient uses a saline nasal spray several times per day to prevent crusts from forming in the nose until the doctor tells them to stop. Sometimes a failure to irrigate if it is instructed after surgery will likely cause the surgery to fail.

The patient should not take aspirin, aspirin-containing medications, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) for 3 weeks following surgery.

The patient will be prescribed antibiotics after surgery, and should finish all the pills that have been prescribed and also some form of a narcotic may also be prescribed and is to be taken as needed.

The patient can go back to work or school only when the doctor indicates it is safe to return but he/she should rest for the first week following surgery.

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