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Septoplasty (Deviated Septum Repair)

Septoplasty is done to correct a deviated nasal septum

Septoplasty (nasal septum repair) is a surgical procedure done to correct a deviated nasal septum. The septum is a wall composed of cartilage and bone that separates your nose into two nasal cavities. When the septum is deviated, one side of the nose is wider than normal and the other is narrower. This changes the pattern of airflow in the nose, which can block the narrow side, causing breathing difficulties and other problems.

What causes a deviated septum? Some people are born with it. For adults, a deviated septum can be caused by injury or trauma. Symptoms of a deviated septum include blockage of one or both nostrils (“stuffy nose”), frequent nosebleeds, difficulty breathing through the nose, nasal congestion (often on one side only), difficulty sleeping through the night, snoring or noisy breathing during sleep, recurrent or repeated sinus infections, facial pain and headaches, and dry mouth. If you have several or all of these symptoms, you may have a deviated septum and be a good candidate for septoplasty.

The primary goal of septoplasty is to straighten the nasal septum and relieve nasal airway obstruction to improve breathing through the nose. Secondarily, some patients may experience a decrease in nose bleeds, nasal discharge, and post-nasal drip.

If you think you might have a deviated septum and are interested inseptoplasty, you should seek a doctor who is a specialist in nasal airway function, as well as plastic surgery. This will ensure that efficient breathing is as high a priority as appearance.

Combining Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

Septoplasty generally does not change the outer appearance of the nose. However, septoplasty is often done in conjunction with cosmetic rhinoplasty (“nose job”) that is performed to alter the aesthetic appearance of the nose.

A dual rhinoplasty/septoplasty surgery is an option for patients who seek improved breathing as well as a cosmetic change in the appearance of their nose. The main reasons to combine these types of procedures are that it is essentially the same recovery period as well as the ability to utilize the cartilage obtained from the septoplasty in reshaping the nose externally (the best way to do so). Otherwise, patients with previous septoplasty who desire cosmetic improvements often need cartilage obtained from either the ear or the rib.

Septoplasty Procedure & Recovery

Septoplasty is performed in the operating room under general anesthesia, but patients come in and go home the same day. During the procedure, the doctor straightens the nasal septum and repositions it in the middle of the nose. It is a fairly straightforward procedure. First, the mucus membrane that covers the septum is raised off the cartilage and bone. The cartilage and bone can then be reshaped or even removed if it is causing blockage in the area. After that, the mucus membrane is put back in place. The procedure normally takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

The typical recovery is one week off of work or school. Most people have surprisingly little pain, and are back to their normal activity either the same day or within a few days of surgery since minimally invasive techniques are used to treat the nasal septum. Occasionally, soft plastic breathing tubes are placed inside the nose to help with healing during the first week. The nose is not “packed” like it was in the “old days” and most people breathe comfortably right away.

Before the surgery, the doctor will spend the time needed to provide patients with information about what to expect and detailed instructions for what will need to be done post-surgery. Of course, our doctors are always available to talk with after the procedure.

To learn more about the benefits of septoplasty for your own nose and to find out if this procedure is right for you, please contact us to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sinha. He can examine you to identify whether a deviated septum is the cause of your problems. Because each patient is different in terms of the degree of the obstructed airway, they will present you with the best options suitable for your condition. If you are also interested in rhinoplasty, they will be happy to discuss those procedural options with you as well.

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