What is Septoplasty?
Septoplasty is a surgery to correct a deviated septum. A deviated septum can make it hard to breathe. The nasal septum is a thin wall of bone and cartilage that separates your nostrils. Most people have a septum that is at least off-centered. More than 80% of people have an off-centered septum. However, a deviated septum is more than just off-centered; it is a drastic deviation. 60% of people suffer from it. An injury can cause this issue, and some people are born with it. They can often cause frequent sinus infections in addition to making it difficult to breathe. Those whose nostrils are blocked or have difficulty breathing may want to consider septoplasty.
Good Candidates for Surgery
For those who experience the following, you may be a good candidate for surgery:
- Difficulty breathing
- Blocked nostril(s)
- Noisy breath during sleep
- Excessive snoring
- Issues with sleep (snoring or breathing)
- Repeated sinus infections
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Facial pain or headaches
- Postnasal drip
Candidates for surgery also need to be in good health and nonsmokers. Not everyone who has a deviated septum needs to get the operation. However, if your symptoms are continuous and make breathing or sleeping hard, it may be right for you. The best way to find out if you are the right candidate is to set up a consultation with your doctor. Several issues could cause the symptoms listed above. Talking with your doctor will help them figure out if the surgery is right for you.
How to Prepare for Septoplasty Surgery?
The first step in preparation is the consultation with your doctor. Once it has been decided that you are the right candidate for surgery, your doctor will do a physical exam. The physical exam will help the doctor figure out a plan for the operation. The doctor will determine the position of your nasal septum. They will use a bright light and a unique tool that opens your nostrils to look inside your nose. This does not hurt and sounds more invasive than it is. Your doctor needs to get a good look inside your nose before the day of surgery. At the appointment, they will also discuss if you would like to get a nose job at the same time. This is where you can ask any questions and ease any fears you may have. This is a standard procedure that has high success rates. However, getting prepared is vital, so you know what to expect.
The procedure itself is done entirely through your nostrils. Your doctor can perform both rhinoplasty and septoplasty procedures together. Rhinoplasty is a surgery that changes the shape and looks of your nose. It is commonly referred to as a nose job. These are often done together to correct the issue and enhance the overall look of your nose. Depending on your needs, the surgery takes roughly an hour and a half. During the procedure, you will be under local or general anesthesia. This is why it is essential not to smoke and be in good health before surgery.
The surgeon will remove any deviated parts of the septum. They can also readjust and reinsert these parts back into your nose if necessary. Because the procedure is relatively quick, it is done in an outpatient clinic. This means that you can usually leave the same day. Your doctor will likely pack your nose with gauze to absorb any blood or fluids from the surgery. These will be removed after your first follow-up appointment.
The procedure has a high success rate when it comes to relief from any prior nasal obstruction. Also, if the sole cause of your chronic sinus infections was your deviated septum, you should get relief from this procedure.
While you can leave the same day, you’ll need to have someone drive you home. During the first few weeks you’ll want to be sure to do the following:
- Avoid heavy lifting and exercise;
- Avoid blowing your nose;
- Keep your head up when you sleep (use an extra pillow); and
- Follow all of your doctor’s orders.
Your doctor will provide you with steps to care for your nose and recover. During the first few days and weeks, you may feel some pain and have some trouble breathing. Be sure to take all of the prescribed medicine to help with the pain. You should avoid any over-the-counter pain medicine as these thin your blood. Talk to your doctor about using any unprescribed medicine before taking them.
The initial swelling will go away within a few weeks. It may take a few months for you to feel the benefits of the surgery. It’s essential to go to all of your follow-up appointments. Your doctor needs to monitor your progress. They also want to be sure there is no risk of infection as you heal.
The wounds in and around your nose will heal reasonably quickly if cared for properly. The improvement in breathing should be reasonably fast as well. The overall healing process will be slow, though. Cartilage and nasal tissue can take three to six months to heal fully.
Patients usually find that their prior symptoms go away after surgery. This includes improved sleep, less snoring and waking at night, and improved breathing. However, the results cannot be guaranteed. For those who have not had all of their issues corrected, a nose job may be necessary. The two surgeries can help with the shape of your nose and help you breathe better. This is why the consultation is so important the first time around. Both procedures may be necessary to fix the issue entirely.
Septoplasty Beverly Hills & Los Angeles
Dr. Brent Moelleken is a double board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. He is one of the most highly skilled surgeons in the country and has received his training at Harvard, Yale, and UCLA. Due to his commitment to patient outcomes, he has been selected as one of Vogue Magazine’s “Top 10 Plastic Surgeons in America.” Contact Dr. Moelleken today for a consultation.