Septoplasty Surgery

The wall of bone and cartilage that runs vertically between your two nostrils and the nasal cavities behind them is the septum. The septum helps support the structure of the nose and also plays a role in the flow of air within the nose. Surgery to correct problems with the septum is called septoplasty.

Septoplasty is often done to ease breathing problems caused by blockages. Often, the problem is a deviated, or crooked, septum that is curved into one of the two nasal cavities. A deviated septum can be due to a birth defect or be caused by a broken nose. However, since no one's septum is perfectly straight, the diagnosis of a deviated septum depends more on whether the deviation causes a problem than on how far out of shape the septum is. A crooked septum can also be the root cause of a crooked nose, so septoplasty to correct a deviated septum can have both cosmetic and reconstructive aspects.

This surgery may be done along with other types of rhinoplasty to treat chronic infections of the sinuses, inflammation, chronic nose bleeds, or to help correct sleep apnea. Usually, the surgeon makes an incision inside the nose to access the cartilage and bone of the septum. Often, the problem can be fixed by cutting away some cartilage. If a lot of readjustment is needed, the surgeon may insert splints into the nose to support it as it heals. He or she may also pack the nose and this packing is kept in for a few days while the nose heals.

Recovery from septoplasty is similar to recovery from other nasal surgery. The splints and packing are removed after a few days and the patient has to take it easy for a week or two.

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