Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. When the bone and cartilage making up the septum – the wall that divides the nostrils – is crooked, it causes obstruction of the nasal airways and makes breathing difficult. This can lead to nosebleeds, snoring, sleep apnea and chronic sinusitis. Surgery to straighten the septum can eliminate these conditions and improve one’s quality of life.
Very few people have a perfectly straight septum. It can be deviated at birth or naturally bend to one side or another during childhood and puberty. Trauma or injury, such as a broken nose, can also cause a deviated septum.
In determining whether a patient is a candidate for septoplasty, the doctor will examine the nasal passages and discuss the patient’s medical history, especially the symptoms they are experiencing as a result of their deviated septum. Typically, septoplasty is not performed unless other methods to treat breathing problems are unsuccessful.
Septoplasty is generally performed in an outpatient surgery center using either local or general anesthesia, and should take 60 to 90 minutes. The surgeon will reposition the septum by trimming and straightening the bent cartilage and bone, working through the nostrils. The incisions are stitched shut with absorbable thread, and silicone splints are often placed inside the nostrils to keep the septum straight as it heals. Packing may be placed in the nostrils to prevent bleeding.
Afterward, the patient is given instructions that will help prevent swelling and bleeding. They will want to avoid blowing their nose, limit strenuous activities and elevate the head while sleeping.
Symptoms improve in the majority of people undergoing this procedure, and complications are rare.
Call Prescott Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy at (928) 778-9190 for more information or to schedule an appointment.