What is septoplasty?

What is it?

It is the correction of the deviations of the septum to improve nasal breathing.

Why do you have to do it?

Deviations of the nasal septum can be growth or post-traumatic and cause the appearance of various direct and indirect symptoms. Direct symptoms are related to the nose, such as nasal insufficiency or a propensity for recurrent sinusitis. Indirect symptoms appear due to the deviation but affect other organs, such as snoring, discomfort or recurrent pharyngeal infections, discomfort or ear infections, among others.

How to do it?

The surgery is performed through the nostrils (nostrils) and does not permanently affect the shape of the nose (not to be confused with rhinoplasty). The septum is made up of cartilage in its most anterior part and can be reshaped through cuts (sometimes a small excess amount has to be removed); the back is made of bone and cannot be reshaped so easily, so the deformed part must be removed, which can then be conveniently repositioned.

The operation can be done under local or general anesthesia, it usually lasts between 30 and 90 minutes; Admission is usually 12 to 24 hours and a plug should be left in the nose for two to four days to immobilize the operated septum and prevent bleeding.

There are other techniques to improve nasal breathing, but they do not change the shape of the septum, since they do not act on it (for example, radiofrequency turbinoplasty).

When is made?

In most cases, the indication is because the patient perceives a decrease in their quality of life due to the symptoms derived from their septal deviation and wants to improve.

In some cases, the indication is made by the specialist, that is, the patient does not perceive their septal deviation as a decrease in their quality of life, but the intensity or severity of the indirect symptoms that it causes, makes the intervention recommended. Some examples of these cases would be dysfunction of the Eustachian tube in divers or pilots, intense snoring, not tolerating a CPAP (a machine that is put on patients who have severe apnea), repetitive sinusitis, or chronic ear infections, among others. cases.

What complications can appear?

The incidences in this surgery are not very frequent; infections are rare and postoperative pain is not intense either (the most frequent complaint is the discomfort of a stuffy nose); the most common is usually bleeding, which can occur immediately after the intervention (hence the patient remains hospitalized for 12 to 24 hours) or when the tamponade is removed two or three days after the intervention. Reviewing the tamponade is almost always sufficient to control bleeding, but occasionally a review should be performed in the operating room.

What precautions should I take after the intervention?

As we have mentioned, the most common complication is bleeding, so the main precautions are to prevent it. During the days that the nasal packing is carried, it is common to present sneezing; avoid containing them as doing so can cause bleeding; Physical exercise, intense heat (saunas, very hot showers), or taking aspirin should also be avoided.

Once the packing is removed, you should avoid blowing your nose for a week, as it can cause bleeding, and manipulation of the nose can move the septum (which has not yet healed). For a few weeks, the healing process will produce nasal scabs, which will be removed by the specialist; to clean the nose, the most recommended are nasal washes with seawater or physiological saline.