When you have a deviated septum – a displacement of the bone and cartilage that divides your two nostrils – it can be corrected with a surgery called nasal septoplasty. During this procedure, a surgeon straightens and repositions your septum so that it’s in the middle of your nose.
Why is nasal septoplasty surgery performed?
Many people have a deviated septum, and it often causes no noticeable issues. However, if your septum is severely deviated, it can block one side of your nose and reduce airflow. You may have trouble breathing through one or both sides of your nose, and you may also develop other issues – such as snoring, sleep apnea, an impaired sense of smell or taste, or frequent sinus infections – as a result.
In addition, you may also experience crusting or bleeding due to the additional exposure of a deviated septum to the drying effect of airflow through the nose.
Septoplasty straightens the nasal septum by trimming, repositioning, and replacing cartilage, bone, or both. It’s done entirely through the nostrils, so no skin on the outside of your nose is cut.
Who is a candidate for septoplasty?
If a deviated septum is severe, it can block one side of the nose, impeding the flow of air through one or both nasal passages. For some people, it can cause problems such as snoring, frequent sinus infections, snoring, sleep apnea, and respiratory complaints.
Usually medications such as decongestants and antihistamines can be used in an effort to alleviate symptoms. But in some cases, they can cause troubling side effects such as elevated blood pressure (decongestants) and drowsiness (antihistamines). They also may not provide enough relief.
If your symptoms are significantly affecting your life, you should consider a septoplasty surgery in order to achieve long-lasting relief.
What is involved in nasal septoplasty surgery?
Before planning the surgery, your doctor will discuss your medical history with you, as well as any medications you may take. A physical examination will be conducted, and your doctor may use an endoscope (a thin, lighted instrument) to examine your septum. You’ll also be able to learn about your expected results if surgery is a recommended option.
Septoplasty requires local or general anesthesia, depending on the surgeon’s preference and the complexity of the surgery. It usually lasts about 60 to 90 minutes and is often performed in an outpatient surgery center.
To repair the septum, the surgeon works through the nostrils rather than from the outside of the nose. An incision is made to separate the mucosa (a soft layer of tissue that lines the septum and nasal passages) from the underlying cartilage and bone. The doctor trims or straightens the bent cartilage and then replaces the mucosa over the cartilage and bone.
The incision is closed with an absorbable suture, and soft splints and a bandage-like material may be used to support the septum and prevent bleeding.
After a recovery period, you’ll likely be able to go home the same day.
What are the benefits of nasal septoplasty surgery?
The benefits of this type of surgery include:
- Improved breathing – overall breathing function is greatly improved since the nasal passages are opened up
- Better sleep quality – reshaping a crooked septum not only improves airflow while you’re awake, but also reduces or eliminates snoring and/or sleep apnea and improves the overall quality of your sleep.
- Fewer sinus infections – opening the airways can allow mucus to drain normally from sinuses that were previously narrowed or partially blocked.
- Improved senses – for patients that previously had an impaired sense of smell or taste due to the effects of a deviated septum, this surgery may improve both senses.
Where can I find the best septoplasty surgeons in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?
DFW Sinus Select is a practice dedicated to the care, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders related to the nose and sinuses. Our board-certified ear, nose, and throat physicians are experts on septoplasty and offer the complete spectrum of diagnostics and the latest minimally invasive treatments for issues that affect your breathing.