Direct injury or trauma to the nose may cause your nasal septum to deviate or bend. A bent or deviated nasal septum has a myriad of secondary effects. To rectify this problem, your physician might recommend a septoplasty – a type of nose surgery. Here’s what you need to know about septoplasty.
When most people hear about nose surgery, they think about rhinoplasty. However, septoplasty is a different type of nose surgery procedure whose benefits go beyond the cosmetic effect. In fact, it does not change the nose’s shape unless combined with yet another technique called septorhinoplasty.
The nasal septum is a barrier of cartilage and bone that partitions your nose into two nasal cavities. Often due to an injury or at times during birth, the septum can deviate and move to one side of your nose. Thus it is referred to as a crooked septum. When this happens, you will experience labored breathing. A crooked septum often causes nasal congestion, an increase in snoring, recurring sinus infections, nosebleeds, and sinus pressure headaches.
In past years, antihistamines and decongestants were the kinds of medications prescribed to alleviate a deviated septum’s symptoms. Fortunately, however, today you can have permanent relief by undergoing a septoplasty.
What is Septoplasty?
This is a type of nose surgery technique that corrects the shape of the nose to alleviate breathing issues that arise from the deviation of the nasal septum. Ideally, septoplasty should correctly align and center your nasal septum hence balancing out the size of your nasal cavities. The nasal procedure should be complete within an hour, or one and a half hours. Septoplasty is typically an outpatient treatment. Complete healing takes between four and six weeks depending on the situation.
Are you a Candidate?
As mentioned earlier, a deviated septum is what calls for a septoplasty. However, that does not automatically qualify you for septoplasty as you need to have medical problems associated with the deformed nasal septum. Thus, merely having a deviated septum does not equate to you undergoing nasal surgery. Septoplasty is reserved for individuals that have breathing issues, and other symptoms related to the crooked or deviated nasal septum which cannot be fixed with medicine or other non-invasive treatments. As such, septoplasty is done if your crooked septum has a detrimental impact on your daily living.
What Happens During Septoplasty
The purpose of this surgical technique is to straighten your septum – the wall that separates your nostrils. It is performed under local anesthesia and twilight sedation. In some instances, your surgeon may opt for general anesthesia – meaning you will be unconscious.
Your surgeon will the perform septoplasty using either the closed or open technique. During a closed septoplasty, they will create incisions on the inside of your nose. An open septoplasty will see the surgeon making the incisions on the outside of your nose, along with the bottom edge. Both have their ideal scenarios.
The open septoplasty allows the surgeon a better view inside the nose as they operate. This enables them to straighten, trim, and shape the nose better. The open procedure is the preferred means of operation while working on the nose cosmetically.
Combining Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty
Known as a septorhinoplasty, this procedure combines functional nasal surgery – to correct a medical problem – with a cosmetic technique – done to alter the appearance or shape of the nose. However, note that septoplasty may also change the nose shape. This often depends on the degree of septum crookedness.
Nevertheless, septorhinoplasty is the technique that combines the best of both procedures. It can change your nose’s size – making it narrower or broader – to complement the shape and size of your face. During septorhinoplasty, your surgeon may also remove a hump or bump from the inside of your nose too. Since septorhinoplasty is more involving, it usually takes longer than a basic septoplasty to complete. At times, your surgeon may manipulate the cartilage from your septum for cosmetic purposes.
Since septoplasty is an invasive procedure, you, therefore, have to be in prime condition before you undergo it. As such, your plastic surgeon has to peruse your medical history after which he gives you an exam to ascertain you are healthy for surgery.
If you are using medication such as aspirin that encourages bleeding, the physician will require you to halt their usage. Thus, you may need to change your medication to one that does not compromise your safety during surgery. Alternatively, you could reduce your dosage in the weeks leading up to the procedure. Make sure your surgeon clarifies this for you.
On most occasions, your surgeon will take images of your nose before the surgery. Some specialists may also use computer imaging to predict the possible outcome of your septoplasty. If you are taking a septorhinoplasty, the computer images will come in handy as a reference point of what to expect of the procedure.
Additionally, your surgeon will advise you on the preparations you need to take before the surgery. First, you will have to desist from smoking in the weeks leading up to your procedure – that is if you do. You may also need to recruit a pal or family member to take you to the clinic and back.
Septoplasty is normally undertaken as an outpatient procedure or on an ambulatory basis. Therefore, you will return home after the procedure. The first week after nasal surgery requires that you take it easy. Therefore make arrangements to be off work for about a week as you recover. Your surgeon may also advise you to lie on your back as you sleep – with your head propped up – to reduce swelling.
You will have to avoid strenuous activities in the initial weeks after your procedure. Also, you could change your dress code as you recover. You are advised against pull-over shirts as you may bump your nose as you put them on or take them off. You will need to wear zip-ups or button up until the surgeon states otherwise.
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that should pose no risks. However, it must be done by an experienced professional to ensure you of this benefit. If you’re looking to get a septoplasty in the Hudson Valley area, you may visit Hudson Valley Sinus Center, a leading nasal surgery and correction center in the metropolis.