Septoplasty is a surgical procedure done to straighten the septum or correct deviation in the septum. A septum is a wall of cartilage & bone that divides the two nostrils of your nose. The septum is called deviated when it is crooked. People having a deviated septum may experience difficulty in breathing through their nose. This increases the risk of infections in the sinus as there is poor drainage. Although some people are born with a deviated nasal septum, an injury to the nose may also cause the septum to deviate.
People having a deviated nasal septum will have one of the two nasal passages smaller than the other one that causes difficulty in breathing. Nose bleeding and facial pain are symptoms of a deviated nasal septum. During the Septoplasty procedure, your doctor will reposition your nasal septum to the middle of your nose. For this, he or she will cut & remove the parts of the nasal septum and reinsert them into a proper position. Upon healing, you will be able to breathe through your nose easily. Your surgeon will also discuss the possibilities and expected results in your case.
Why should I opt for Septoplasty?
Many people have crooked septum. However, in severe cases, there might be a blockage on one side of the nose due to a deviated septum that reduces airflow. This may cause difficulty in breathing through your nose from either one or both sides. The Septoplasty procedure can help to straighten your septum by trimming, repositioning, and replacing the bone and/or the cartilage. You may think of going for the Septoplasty procedure for fixing your deviated septum if you are experiencing symptoms like difficulty in breathing through the nose and it is affecting your quality of life.
Preparing for the surgery
You may need to stop taking specific medications for two weeks before the surgery. These medications may include blood thinners and ibuprofen or aspirin. Your doctor will instruct you on this to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding during and after the Septoplasty surgery. If you have an allergy to some medications or if you have problems like excessive bleeding, you must inform your doctor about the same. People undergo this surgery usually under a local anesthetic agent that numbs the surgery site and prevents pain. However, some people opt for the surgery under general anesthesia that makes them fall asleep at the time of the surgery.
You need to start fasting from the night before the surgery if you will be having the surgery under general anesthesia. This is because it prevents choking if you have nausea or vomiting due to the anesthesia during the surgery. You may ask your doctor to take a photo and compare it with another photo to be taken after the procedure. This will help you notice the changes in your nose.
What to expect?
Your surgeon will make incisions in your nose, especially a small incision between your nostrils. It is necessary to make cuts or incisions in the bone of your nose for repositioning them if your nasal bones are crooked and push your nasal septum to 1 side. Your surgeon might use spreader grafts that are small & reinforcing strips of cartilage. They help to correct a deviated nasal septum when you have a problem at the bridge of your nose. In some cases, these grafts are necessary for straightening the septum effectively.
BEFORE THE PROCEDURE
Your doctor may administer local or general anesthesia in your body. The complexity of your surgery and the choices of you & your doctor will help in determining the type of anesthesia for you. The local anesthesia numbs the area only up to the nose. Your doctor will inject it into the nasal tissues. However, if your doctor is administering general anesthesia, he or she will use an IV line for the same and you will be temporarily unconscious with effects on your entire body.
DURING THE PROCEDURE
Your surgeon will make incisions and reposition the nasal septum. He or she might cut several parts of your septum for the same. Next, your doctor will use absorbable sutures to close the incisions. He or she will insert soft silicone splints in each of your nostrils for supporting the nasal septum. He or she will use a bandage-like material for packing your nose to prevent bleeding after the completion of the surgery.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
The nurse will move you to a recovery room after the surgery where the team can watch & monitor your condition for any complications. You will need someone to take you home and avoid driving for a few weeks after the surgery. You may need to elevate your head during sleep, avoid blowing your nose, and avoid strenuous activities for a month so that there is no bleeding.
Risks of the procedure
Septoplasty procedure too has some risks like infection, bleeding, or adverse reaction to anesthesia. However, there are some other associated risks also that may be:
- Excessive bleeding
- Nasal obstruction and other symptoms
- A hole in your nasal septum
- Numbness in your upper gums or nose, temporarily
- Alterations in nose shape
- Clots of blood in your nasal space that requires drainage.
You may reduce these risks by keeping your nose clean and frequently washing the hands. One may need multiple surgeries for treating some or all of these risks. If the results of the Septoplasty procedure are below your expectations, you may opt for additional surgery for the same. You may talk to your doctor surgeon for discussing your case and the associated risks if you undergo the surgery.