What is Septoplasty?
This is a surgical procedure used for the correction of a deviated septum. Deviated septum is the displacement of the bones and cartilage that separates your two nostrils. During the procedure of septoplasty, your nasal septum is leveled and moved to the center of your nose. This may require the surgeon to cut off and remove the parts of your nasal septum before re-insertion it into the correct position.
Why is Septoplasty done?
Some deviation of the septum is a common occurrence. When the deviated septum is severe, it can result to blockage of one side of your nose which results to a reduction in the rate of airflow, which results to breathing problems on one side or both sides of your nose.
Additional exposure of the deviated septum to the drying effect of the air flow through the nose can sometimes contribute to the formation of cortex or bleeding in some individuals. Septoplasty is used to straighten the nasal septum by trimming, repositioning and replacing cartilage, bone, or both.
If you have symptoms - such as nasal breathing difficulties - that dramatically affect your quality of life, you may need to consider a surgical procedure to correct the deviated septum.
How shall I be prepared for septoplasty?
Before planning your septoplasty you should get to know your surgeon to discuss the benefits and risks of surgery. This meeting usually includes:
Your medical history: Your doctor asks about the conditions you have or have had, as well as the current medications.
Physical examination: Your doctor will perform a physical examination, including all relevant tests. He or she also looks at your skin, the inside and outside of your nose.
Pictures: Someone in your medical office can photograph your nose from different angles. Your doctor may use these photos to discuss with you before septoplasty or for reference during and after surgery.
Discussion of Your Expectations: You and your doctor should discuss your expectations. He or she explains what septoplasty can and cannot do for you and what might be the outcome of the surgery.
The procedure of septoplasty may last between 30 to 90 minutes and this has to do with how complex your condition is. You will be under local or general anesthesia, depending on what you and your doctor choose best for you.
In a typical procedure, an incision is performed by your surgeon one side of the nose to access the septum. Then, the mucous membrane will be lifted up; this is the protective cap covering the septum. After which the deviated septum will be moved to its normal position. All obstacles, such as bone bits or cartilages, will be removed. The last step is to reposition the mucous membrane.
There may be a need for stitches in order to hold the septum and the membrane in place. However, sometimes it is enough to pack the nose with cotton to keep them in place.
Results and recovery
According to the American Rhinologic Society, almost 90 percent reported improvement of their nasal blockage after surgery. It is common that the patient feels depressed several hours after the operation. Some will feel uncomfortable because of anesthesia and maybe some pain. Patients should report this to a nurse who can assist them with medication that they can use.
In both nostrils, there will be packing, which will require the patient to breathe through the mouth. Packing is there to stop bleeding occurring immediately after surgery. It is removed when the patient is released from the hospital.
Splints in the nose will rarely appear. Usually, they are eliminated within 7 days of the second meeting.
The patient will be allowed to go home the same day of the procedure if there is no complication. A family member or friend should be available that will follow you home.
It is normal to expect congestion and bleeding, which should improve over the next two weeks. Some pains are also common, for which people can take pain medications according to the physician's instructions.