A deviated septum is diagnosed when the bone and cartilage dividing your nose (called the septum) is misaligned. The condition leads to a variety of issues, such as pain, breathing problems, and nosebleeds. Septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to correct this misalignment and is, in fact, the only way to correct a deviated septum. With the septum straightened, the patient’s nostrils are once again the same size, improving airflow, which alleviates the symptoms of a deviated septum.
- Preparation: Begin preparing for your procedure at least two weeks ahead of time, especially if you take blood thinning medications or smoke. Blood thinning medications include NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen as well as certain vitamins and supplements like Gingko biloba. Stop smoking and increase hydration both before and after your procedure to aid in healing.
- Anesthesia: The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, meaning you will sleep throughout the surgery. General anesthesia requires the patient to fast from midnight on. You will also need a caregiver to drive you home.
- Preoperative Consult: During your consultation, Dr. Vallecillos discusses your goals with treatment and helps you set reasonable expectations. He also looks at your full medical history, including any medications you take and previous procedures. This is also the time to ask any procedural questions you have. Finally, the doctor provides both pre- and postoperative instructions.
The procedure takes approximately 90 minutes. After administering the anesthesia, Dr. Vallecillos creates an incision on one side of your nose, lifting the mucous membrane (the septum’s protective covering). He then repositions the septum and removes any extra tissue, such as bone or cartilage. Next, he repositions the mucous membrane, packs the area with cotton to control bleeding, and closes the incision.
Who is a candidate for septoplasty?
Septoplasty is performed on patients who have a deviated septum.
What is the recovery time for septoplasty?
This is an outpatient procedure that requires several weeks of recovery time before resuming your regular schedule. Follow Dr. Vallecillos’ postoperative instructions exactly to ensure optimum recovery.
In general, you may remove the cotton packing within 48 hours of your surgery. The doctor may prescribe pain medication, but will likely ask you to avoid over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as these thin your blood and may cause bleeding problems.
Limit physical activity for three to four weeks, including intense aerobic activity, contact sports, and weight training. Any activity that leads to heavy breathing and higher blood pressure may interfere with healing.
You’ll promote healing by sleeping with your head in an elevated position and sticking to button-up clothing for the first week. In addition, do not blow your nose during this time. Though the incision heals quickly, the tissues continue shifting for up to a year.
Are there risks or side effects associated with septoplasty?
Every surgery carries certain risks, including scarring, bleeding, and infection. Risks unique to septoplasty occur rarely and include a perforated septum, decreased sense of smell, discoloration, and an altered shape to your nose.
How long do the results last?
Results are permanent. However, as cartilage continues shifting over time, some patients require a second surgery. It takes at least 12 months to determine the need for revision.