Septoplasty – Nasal Septum Deviation Surgery

What is a septoplasty surgery and why is it performed?

A septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated nasal septum. The nasal septum is the wall of bone and cartilage that divides the nostrils. Some people are born with a deviated, or displaced, septum; others may suffer such a displacement due to traumatic injury. In some cases, a deviated septum is a minor irregularity and presents no medical or aesthetic problem. In others, however, a deviated septum may result in breathing or sinus problems, or may contribute to an unattractive appearance of the nose. In such cases, a septoplasty may be performed, either as part of nasal reconstruction, sinus surgery, or rhinoplasty.

Reasons for Septoplasty

There are several specific reasons for a septoplasty, including:

  • Breathing difficulties through one or both nostrils
  • Increased dryness of nasal airflow, resulting in crusting or bleeding
  • Poor nasal drainages leading to sinus infections
  • Crooked nose that is pronounced enough to be intrusive

Septoplasty straightens the nasal septum by trimming, repositioning and replacing cartilage, bone or both.

The Nasal Septoplasty Procedure

A nasal deviation surgery may be performed under local or general anesthetic, depending on the complexity of the procedure and on the patient’s preference. During the procedure, the nasal septum is straightened and repositioned so that it divides your nose, as closely as possible, into equal parts. This may require your surgeon to cut and remove parts of your septum before reinserting them in the proper position. Preferably, a septoplasty is performed as part of a closed procedure, meaning the surgeon makes no external incisions, but works entirely through the natural opening of the nostrils.

During surgery, any incisions are closed with absorbable thread, so no stitches will require removal later. Soft silicone splints may be inserted inside each nostril to support the septum. Though some surgeons still use packing to prevent postoperative bleeding, the National Institute of Health states that, “Nasal packing has several risks for patients and septoplasty can be safely performed without [it].”

After the Septoplasty Procedure

Although deviated septum surgery is almost always an outpatient procedure, there are certain precautions recommended for patients who have just undergone the operation. To prevent excessive swelling and bleeding, you should avoid the following:

  • Strenuous activities
  • Any activities that will elevate the blood pressure
  • Blowing your nose
  • Pulling clothing, such as sweaters or shirts, over your head

You will also be advised to elevate your head when you’re sleeping or lying down.

If you experience nasal breathing problems, frequent sinus infections, or emotional distress due to a misshapen nose, you should consult a doctor with expertise in nasal surgery and rhinoplasty who will explain whether or not a septoplasty is recommended in your case.

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Posted in: Rhinoplasty

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