Septoplasty should not be confused with rhinoplasty but usually, they are two procedures that are performed together. Septoplasty and rhinoplasty combined results in a procedure called septo-rhinoplasty.
What is septoplasty?
The septum is the wall between the left side of the nose and the right side of the nose. It is a firm and bendable body part. Ideally, the nasal septum should be located right in the middle so that the left and the right side of the nose are of equal size. 80% of people do not have a nasal septum right in the middle. It is little off-centre although only a few people will notice it. Less often, the septum is more dramatically off-centre and this is called a deviated septum.
Performing surgery on the septum is called septoplasty. A deviated septum will affect one’s breathing in ranges of mild annoyances to complete lack of function on both nostrils. Even if there are little or no breathing disturbances, a deviated septum may affect the entire look of the nose. The exterior bridge of the nose can look crooked or unappealing.
What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
Patients who have a deviated septum may find that one side of the nose is wider than the other side. This will alter the normal pattern of airflow in the nose and will sometimes block airflow to the narrower side. The altered airflow pattern in the nose will cause the skin of the nasal septum to become dry and cracked. This will lead to frequent nosebleeds.
Due to genetics and trauma, the septum can bend to one side or another. An irregular growth of cartilage or bone can develop. This is called a septal spur. These abnormalities can cause obstruction of the flow of air through the nose. This will cause difficulty in breathing.
What is involved in a septo-rhinoplasty?
A septo-rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that aims to straighten the cartilage and bone that separates the left and the right side of the nose. The surgery addresses the outer shape of the nose because the septum which divides the two airways affects the outer appearance of the nose as well. This surgery will remove the obstructions that cause difficulty in breathing. When combined with rhinoplasty, septo-rhinoplasty will also improve the appearance of the nose making it look straighter and more appealing.
The most important part of a septorhinoplasty is maintaining or improving the airway. During this procedure, the surgeon will move your septum to a normal position. Your surgeon will also reshape the external appearance of the nose. Your surgeon will bring it into balance with the other features of your face.
How long does the septo-rhinoplasty surgery take?
The septo-rhinoplasty procedure can take up to two and a half hours to perform depending on the extent of the surgery. For the next two weeks, your breathing will be compromised. There will be swelling inside the nose and there will also be some evident bruising in the area. Your breathing should return to normal and after three weeks, you should be fully recovered. Keep in mind that patients will recover at their own healing rates. Recovery will also depend on the extent of the surgery performed.
More information on septo-rhinoplasty
What are the benefits that can be derived from a septo-rhinoplasty?
The aim of septoplasty is to straighten out the nasal septum. This will relieve blockages or other structural problems relating to the nose and the airways. Reconstructive or cosmetic rhinoplasty is usually performed at the same time as septoplasty. The resulting procedure is called a septo-rhinoplasty. Some of the problems that arise due to a deviated septum are as follows
- obstruction of the nasal air passages
- septal spur headaches
- uncontrollable nose bleeding
- deformity of the nose
After a septoplasty, you can have the following benefits
- improved appearance of the nose as it becomes straighter and more proportioned with your entire face
- relief in the obstruction of nasal passages which will consequently improve your breathing
- decrease in the chances of nose bleeding
- correcting the bent and deviated nasal septum which will eventually change the shape of the nose for the better
- improvement in snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is difficulty in breathing while sleeping
Aside from the physical benefits that can be derived from a septoplasty, there are also several psychological benefits as well. There will be improvement in one’s emotional and social well being. As a person, you will not longer feel too self-conscious about your appearance. This surgery will solve several problems but at the same time, one must keep their feet on the ground and keep their expectations as realistic as possible.
What is the suitable age to go through septoplasty?
Septoplasty can be undergone by people of all ages. This will improve their breathing and the appearance of their nose. The function of the nose is very important and is a crucial factor in maintaining one’s health.
How is the septoplasty performed?
Here is how a septoplasty is performed. For more information on rhinoplasty, you can check the respective section on the website. First, a small cut is made inside the nose. This is made on one of the nasal walls. The nasal mucosa is lifted up and anything that obstructs the airway is either evacuated or repositioned. Any bony spurs are trimmed and removed. The nasal cartilage and the bone are straightened and moved to the middle of the nose. This will give the nose a better shape. The mucous membrane is then set back to its original place. Spall splints may be placed inside the nose in order to hold the septum in its new position. The splints will be removed after a couple of days. There are times where the nostrils will be packed with cotton materials. This will prevent any further nose bleeding. The operation is quite short. It may take only thirty minutes to complete. It is performed as an outpatient procedure using IV sedation or general anaesthesia.
What are some of the risks you have to take when you go through septoplasty?
All surgical procedures have their risks and the septoplasty is no exception. It is a fact that surgical complications happen infrequently but you must still keep them in mind because they are still possible. Moreover, patients with compromised immune systems, bleeding disorders, or conditions that interfere with wound healing can be at a greater risk for these complications. The patient must be fully aware of the risks before undergoing such procedure.
Take note that if septoplasty is performed in conjunction with rhinoplasty, you must also consider the risks associated with rhinoplasty. You can check the rhinoplasty section in order to understand these risks in greater detail.
The risks that are associated with septoplasty are as follows
- infection – these will happen in less than one percent of the cases. If the patient experiences any pain or redness after the surgery, the surgeon must be notified immediately. However, before the after the operation, antibiotics are going to be given in order to minimize the risk of any infection
- bleeding and septal haematoma – this will occur immediately after the operation. It is expected to stop after a few hours. It is considered normal breathing as well. There are times where a blood clot will accumulate in the septum. When this happens, a return visit to the surgeon is necessary. If the patient experiences serious pain after the surgery then the surgeon must be notified as soon as possible
- hole or perforation forming in the septum – a perforation rarely requires any treatment. If this hole causes pain, discomfort, or an infection then revision surgery will be required
- toxic shock syndrome – there are patients who will have streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria in their noses prior to the operation. Packing the nose after surgery in people who have these bacteria will increase the risk of a toxic shock syndrome. The surgeon must be notified immediately if the patient has high fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, chills, dizziness, or fainting
What are some of the questions that you should ask your surgeon during consultations?
For a consultation with the surgeon, the patient is advised to prepare a list of questions that will help them understand the benefits, the risks, the costs, the performance of the procedure, the recovery, and other details that the patient must be aware of regarding the surgery. Here are some of the questions that you may ask your surgeon during your consultation sessions
- Am I a good candidate for the septoplasty surgery?
- What are some of the things that I should avoid before the surgery?
- Will you be able to explain to me the surgery in great detail?
- What are some of the benefits that I can get from this surgery?
- Will my nose look totally different after the surgery?
- How will I look like after the surgery?
- Will you be able to show me before and after pictures of your previous patients?
- Can you show me what I will look like over a computer?
- Will my snoring be lessened after the surgery?
- What are some of the side effects of this surgery?
- What are some of the complications that I may encounter from this surgery?
- Will I be in pain during and after the procedure?
- How long will it take before I can resume my normal day-to-day activities?
- How long will the results of a septoplasty last?
- What are some of the things that can not be achieved through septoplasty?
It is important that you ask as many questions as possible. Your head should be clear and informed. One of the most important things to do before going through any surgery is gathering as much information as possible. It is important that you make a fully informed decision before entering any surgery.
Who are the suitable candidates for a septo-rhinoplasty?
The function of the nose is important. It provides the air needed by your body in order to function well. You can be a good candidate for septo-rhinoplasty if you want to
- improve the appearance of your nose so that it will become straighter. Your nose will look much better if septoplasty is combined with rhinoplasty
- relieve the nasal blockages that are causing difficulty in breathing
- decrease the chances and occurrences of nose bleeds
- correct a bent or deviated nasal septum and improve the shape of your nose
- improve snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sickness that causes people difficulty to sleep
What is the suitable age for septo-rhinoplasty?
Septo-rhinoplasty can be undergone by people of all ages. This will improve the appearance of their nose and it will also improve their breathing.
What are some of the psychological factors involved in septo-rhinoplasty?
There are a lot of psychological benefits derived from a septo-rhinoplasty. There will be an improvement in the emotional and social well-being of the individual. For instance, teenagers may feel self-conscious about their appearance. When this is taken to surgery, their problems may be solved. However, one must always remember that their expectations must be realistic. They should understand not only the benefits that septo-rhinoplasty can offer but the limitations of the procedure as well.
What are some of the other things that I should know?
Septo-rhinoplasty is a good option if you have
- realistic expectations – the best candidates understand what septo-rhinoplsty can accomplish and what it can’t accomplish
- excellent physical health – the best candidates will be as healthy as possible. Patients must be physically prepared for the surgery and they must be strong enough to endure the healing process. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions then you must inform your surgeon about them beforehand
- consulted with a qualified plastic surgeon – it is important that you have gathered as much information as possible and you have consulted with a surgeon. Going through septo-rhinoplasty is an important part of your life and you must make a fully informed decision of going through with it
What is the first step in getting a septo-rhinoplasty?
Your first step in septo-rhinoplasty is to gather as much information as possible. You should have a consultation with your surgeon. During this consultation, you must air out all your concerns. You must find out whether you are suitable for the procedure, the costs associated with the procedure, the insurance that you have to purchase before the procedure, your medical history, the risks that are associated with the procedure, the benefits that can be derived from the procedure, and how long it will take to recover from the procedure. It is important that you gather as much information as possible before you go through surgery. You must make a fully informed decision prior to surgery
What are some of the things that I can do to achieve the best results?
When you consult with your surgeon, you will be given specific guidelines on how to achieve the best results. Some of the general guidelines that you will follow are
- eating and drinking the right foods and beverages
- avoiding smoking or completely quitting smoking
- taking or avoiding certain vitamins, minerals, and medications
What should you do when you get home after a septo-rhinoplasty?
What will happen during the recovery period after septo-rhinoplasty?
Your face will feel puffy and your nose will ache for the first two days. If the pain is intolerable then you may take he prescribed painkillers from your surgeon.
What will happen to my breathing after the surgery?
For about two weeks after the surgery, you will have compromised breathing. This is due to the swelling inside the nose. You will have some evident bruising as well. Your breathing will become easier gradually. After around two weeks, you must be able to breathe normally. Take note that healing rates will vary among patients. Some will be able to breathe properly earlier than normal while others may take more than two weeks before they start breathing normally.
Will there be bruising and swelling after the surgery?
There will be bruising and swelling in the nose and eye area. This will last for about two to three weeks.
Will there be bleeding?
There will be a little bleeding during the first few days after surgery. You will be prohibited from blowing your nose so that the nasal tissue will heal properly.
When will your dressings and stitches be removed?
Your dressings, splints, and stitches should be removed after a week.
How long will it take to recover from a septo-rhinoplasty surgery?
Each patient will have their own unique healing timeline. In general, most patients are up and about within a couple of days after the surgery. However, your surgeon will recommend that you focus your body’s energy on healing instead of doing other activities.
When will you be active again?
You must avoid any strenuous activity for a month and avoid any contact sports that may damage your nose for two months.
When will you be able to return to work?
You will be able to return to work after a week although your surgeon will advise you to take two weeks off from work in order to focus your body’s energies on healing rather than working.