Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that aims to correct a deviated septum, a condition where the thin wall (septum) that separates the nostrils is displaced, causing breathing difficulties. Septoplasty aims to improve nasal breathing, and is usually recommended when conservative treatments fail to improve symptoms.
If you suffer from chronic nasal obstruction that is disrupting your day-to-day, GlobMed can assist in finding the best otolaryngologists to perform this procedure, helping you to take the next step in addressing your breathing difficulties and improving your quality of life.
What Is A Deviated Septum?
The septum is a wedge of bone and cartilage that separates the left and right nostrils. In some cases, the septum can be crooked or deviated, often due to genetics, trauma, or injury. A deviated septum can block one or both nasal passages, leading to symptoms such as:
- Nasal congestion: The narrowing of the nasal passage can make it difficult to breathe through the affected nostril(s), causing a stuffy or congested sensation.
- Difficulty breathing: A deviated septum can impede the airflow, making it challenging to breathe freely, especially during physical activity or when sleeping.
- Recurrent sinus infections: The blockage caused by a deviated septum can disrupt the natural drainage of the sinuses, increasing the risk of sinus infections and associated symptoms like facial pain, pressure, and postnasal drip.
- Nosebleeds: Dryness and irritation resulting from restricted airflow can make the nasal tissues more susceptible to nosebleeds.
- Sleep disturbances: Breathing difficulties during sleep can lead to snoring or noisy breathing, and disrupted sleep patterns.
How Could A Septoplasty Help Me?
Septoplasty is recommended when conservative treatments, such as medications or nasal sprays, fail to alleviate symptoms, or when the deviated septum significantly affects quality of life. The main goal of septoplasty is to straighten the septum, allowing for improved airflow and enhanced nasal function. By improving your respiratory function, septoplasty can enhance your overall well-being and quality of life.
What Can I Expect From The Procedure?
An otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, can assess your symptoms and medical history, and conduct a series of tests, including a physical examination and possibly a nasal endoscopy or imaging tests.
Before the surgery, you may be advised to avoid certain medications, such as blood thinners, as they can increase bleeding risk. Additionally, fasting for a few hours prior to the procedure might be necessary.
Septoplasty is typically performed under general anaesthesia, ensuring that you are asleep and pain-free throughout the surgery. The surgeon will make an incision within the nostril, providing access to the deviated septum, which means you will not have any facial scarring. The displaced cartilage and bone will be repositioned or removed to create an open nasal passage. After correcting the septum, nasal packing or nasal splints may be used to support the healing process.
What Is The Recovery Process After Septoplasty?
Septoplasty is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to return home on the same day, although you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home. However, it’s important to allow yourself enough time to rest and recover.
The initial recovery period usually lasts around one to two weeks, but it can take three months to see the full results. During this time it’s normal to experience nasal congestion, discharge, and crust in the nose following septoplasty, as well as a slightly sore throat. Saline nasal sprays or rinses can help alleviate congestion and keep the nasal passages moist, promoting healing. It might help to sleep with your head elevated. Your surgeon may also prescribe pain medication to alleviate any discomfort during the early stages of recovery.
It’s important to avoid certain activities, as they might cause bleeding:
- Strenuous activities, including heavy lifting, intense exercise, or activities that may cause a sudden increase in blood pressure
- Blowing your nose
Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions on how to care for your nose after the surgery, including tips for managing discomfort, swelling, and congestion. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress and remove any packing or splints.
What Are The Potential Complications Of Septoplasty?
Potential complications of septoplasty are relatively rare but can occur. It’s important to be aware of them and promptly contact your surgeon if you experience any concerning symptoms, such as:
- While some bleeding is expected in the first few days after surgery, if you experience significant or persistent bleeding, it’s important to seek medical attention.
- In rare cases blood can collect under the septum lining. This is called a septal haematoma and it may cause pain and increased nasal blockage. If this occurs you will need urgent drainage.
- Although rare, infections can occur following septoplasty. Signs of infection include increased nasal pain, swelling, redness, or discharge from the surgical site.
- In rare cases, the septum may develop a hole or perforation as a result of the surgery. This can cause symptoms like whistling noises during breathing, crusting, or pain. If you experience these symptoms, contact your surgeon.
- In some cases, there may be slight changes in the shape or appearance of the nose after septoplasty.
- In some cases the procedure may affect your sense of smell, though the chance of this occurring is very small.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, septoplasty can be performed alongside other nasal procedures, such as rhinoplasty (cosmetic nose surgery) or sinus surgery, if necessary. The combination of septoplasty and rhinoplasty is often called septorhinoplasty.