How it Works
A septoplasty encompasses a variety of surgical interventions, combined to achieve a realignment of the deviated septum and a reduction of symptoms. This process can include removal, repositioning, and grafting of cartilage and bone, depending on the underlying cause and physical structure of the deviated septum or blockage.
Septoplasty is primarily used in the treatment of a deviated septum and related blockages of the nose, though similar processes may be applied to the septum as part of a more general nose surgery, such as a cosmetic rhinoplasty.
For this reason, treatment candidates are mostly those suffering from a deviated septum—a displacement of the thin wall separating your nostrils to one side. A deviated septum can be present at birth or develop naturally after, or occur as a result of some injury to the nose.
More specifically, treatment candidates are those patients whose deviated septum presents with significant symptoms. This includes symptoms such as difficulty breathing through the nose, regular crusting of the nose or blockage, chronic sinusitis, or frequent bleeding associated with the condition.
Generally, the risks and cost of surgery is weighed against the effect on quality of life to determine whether a septoplasty is an appropriate intervention.
What to Expect
Before a septoplasty, your doctor will examine your septum and discuss expectations and goals for the procedure. You'll be expected to stop smoking leading up to the surgery, and may need to take avoid certain medications and activities.
Most septoplasties will follow a similar course of procedure and recovery:
- Local or general anesthesia. During the procedure, you will either be placed under general anesthesia and rendered unconscious for the procedure, or have local anesthesia combined with sedation to keep you still and groggy.
- Absorbable suture. You'll probably have absorbable sutures used for any necessary stitches, though the specifics of your septoplasty may require something different.
- Reduced activity for several weeks. Following your procedure, you'll be able to quickly return home but will need to avoid vigorous activity for a time to allow for uninterrupted recovery.
- Don't blow your nose. During your recovery period, you can't blow your nose, rub it hard, etc., to allow for it to heal straight.
- No over-the-head clothing. It's best to stick to buttoned garments instead of pulling shirts, pullovers, etc. over your head and risking injury to your nose in the process.
- Elevate your head while sleeping. It's best to sleep during the recovery period with your head elevated on a pillow, to allow for healthy blood flow.