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Septoplasty

Septoplasty is surgery to correct any problems in the nasal septum, the wall inside the nose that separates the nostrils.

Most people have receive general anesthesia before septoplasty. This will make you asleep and pain-free. Some people have the surgery under local anesthesia, which numbs the area to block pain. You will stay awake if you have local anesthesia. Surgery takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Patients usually go home the same day.

To do the procedure:

The surgeon makes a cut inside the wall on one side of your nose.

  • The mucus membrane that covers the wall is lifted up.
  • Cartilage or bone that is causing the blockage in the area is moved or taken out.
  • The mucus membrane is put back in place. The membrane will be held in place by stitches, splints, or packing material.

Alternative Names

Nasal septum repair

Why the Procedure Is Performed

The main reasons for this surgery are:

  • To repair a crooked, bent, or deformed nasal septum that blocks the airway in the nose. People with this condition usually breathe through their mouth and may be more likely to get nasal or sinus infections.
  • To treat nosebleeds that cannot be controlled.

Risks

Risks for any surgery are:

Risks for this surgery are:

  • Return of the nasal blockage. This would require another surgery.
  • Scarring
  • A perforation, or hole, in the septum wall
  • Changes in skin sensation
  • Unevenness in the appearance of the nose
  • Skin discoloration
  • Fluid buildup in the nose

Before the Procedure


  • You will meet with the doctor who will give you anesthesia medicine during the surgery.
  • You go over your medical history to help the doctor decide the best type of anesthesia.
  • Be sure you tell your doctor or nurse about any medicines you take, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription. Also tell your doctor if you have any allergies or if you have a history of bleeding problems.
  • You may need to stop taking any drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot 2 weeks before your surgery. Some of these are aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and some herbal supplements.
  • You may be asked to stop eating and drinking after midnight the night before the procedure.

After the Procedure


  • You will go home on the same day as surgery.
  • After surgery, both sides of your nose may be tightly packed (stuffed with cotton or spongy materials). This helps prevent nosebleeds.
  • Most of the time this packing is removed 24 to 36 hours after surgery.
  • You may have swelling or drainage for a few days after the surgery .

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most septoplasty procedures are able to straighten the septum. Breathing often improves.

References

Kridel RWH, Kelly PE, MacGregor AR. The nasal septum. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 34.

Updated: 3/22/2013

Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Associate Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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