This surgery may correct breathing problems, nosebleeds, and snoring associated with a deviated septum.
Septoplasty is surgery to fix a deviated septum inside the nose.
A deviated septum is when the nasal septum (the bone and cartilage that divides your two nostrils in half) is off center or crooked.
Some people are born with a deviated septum, while others suffer an injury that causes the problem.
In a septoplasty, a surgeon straightens and repositions the nasal septum.
The procedure is typically performed to address breathing problems, nosebleeds, or snoring in people with a deviated septum.
Sometimes, septoplasty is performed along with other procedures, such as sinus surgery, nasal tumor, or polyp removal.
The Septoplasty Procedure
Before your septoplasty, you'll receive either local anesthesia (the area will be numb) or general anesthesia (you’ll be unconscious).
The procedure typically takes an hour to an hour and a half.
A surgeon will make a cut inside the wall of your nose on one side, then lift up the mucous membrane that covers it.
Cartilage or bone that's causing the problem will be moved or taken out. Your nasal septum will be straightened and repositioned in the middle of your nose.
Then, the surgeon will put your mucous membrane back in place. It will be held there by stiches, splints, or packing material (such as cotton).
Before your septoplasty procedure, tell your doctor about all medicines you take.
You may need to stop taking certain drugs ahead of time, such as Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), aspirin, or some herbal supplements.
Also, let your doctor know if you have allergies or a history of bleeding problems.
You may need to stop eating and drinking the night before your surgery. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
You'll probably be able to go home the same day as your procedure. Be sure to have someone else drive you.
After your septoplasty, your nose may be tightly packed (stuffed with cotton or spongy material) to prevent nosebleeds. Usually, packing is removed 24 to 36 hours after surgery.
You may experience pain, nasal stuffiness, or mild nasal drainage after the surgery. Your doctor will tell you what pain medicines are safe to take.
You may need to keep your head elevated while you're sleeping and refrain from blowing your nose for several weeks after the surgery.
Be sure to avoid strenuous activities, such as running or aerobics, until your doctor tells you they're safe.
Potential risks of septoplasty include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Change in the shape of your nose
- Failure to help symptoms, or return of nasal blockage (which may require additional surgery)
- An opening in the septum wall
- Reduced sense of smell
- Change in skin sensation
- Fluid buildup in the nose
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Septoplasty; Mayo Clinic.
- Septoplasty; MedlinePlus.
- Septoplasty & Turbinate Surgery; American Rhinologic Society.