Septoplasty, sometimes referred to as septal reconstruction, is a procedure that straightens a deviated septum inside your nose. The septum is the wall made out of bone and cartilage that separates your nostrils. Whilst many people live with a slightly bent septum without ever noticing, in some cases it can be deviated to such an extent that it causes a blockage. This can lead to a number of issues, but primarily it can result in breathing problems. This procedure should not affect the way your nose looks, but nose reshaping can be completed at the same time if you would also like to change its external appearance.
It begins with an incision in the protective covering of the septum (mucous membrane) in order to access the bone and cartilage underneath. The septum is then straightened, and any obstructive pieces of bone or cartilage are removed. Stitches will be used to hold the septum in place once it has been repositioned, and dressings are used to prevent bleeding. Sometimes small pieces of plastic, called splints, will be used to help keep the septum in place and prevent scar tissue forming. This is all a fairly quick process that can be completed as little as 30 minutes, although it may take longer than this depending on how complex the individual operation is.
Septoplasty can be performed under a local or a general anaesthetic, and your surgeon will discuss what they think is best with you prior to the surgery. If opting for a general anaesthetic you will be asleep for the length of the procedure, and you should ensure you have a relative of family member to look after you for at least 24 hours after the surgery while the effects of the anaesthetic wears off. You may also be required to stop eating and drink only water for at least 6 hours before the surgery, but you will receive specific instructions on this closer to the time.
Your surgeon will review any medications you are on, and you may be asked to stop taking aspirin or any other form of blood thinning drug. This is to reduce the chances of excessive bleeding during surgery.
This is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that you will usually be able to go home the same day. Your nose will be painful and swollen, and it’s likely that you will have to breathe through your mouth for a couple of days because your nose will be packed with dressings to control any bleeding that might occur. Do not blow your nose for at least two weeks after the procedure, and try to sneeze through your mouth if possible. In addition to these precautions, elevating of propping up your head at night can help speed up the recovery process. You should be able to return to work within one or two weeks, but you should refrain from any strenuous activity or contact sports for at least a month. A full recovery can take up to three months, but your surgeon will check on your progress in a follow up consultation.
Some common side effects of this procedure include pain, discomfort, the sensation of having a blocked nose, and a watery red fluid that comes from your nose. Whilst these are temporary, some complications are more permanent. For example, you may get a hole in your septum, and despite this not being a serious problem it can cause a whistling sound when you breathe. Although rare, you may also have an unwanted change in the shape of your nose. Both of these issues will require a second procedure to correct.
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Doctify Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. In the event of an emergency, please call 999 for immediate assistance.