A septoplasty is a surgical procedure on the septum, or bone dividing the nostrils inside the nose. Also known as a submucous septal resection, septal reconstruction or nasal septum repair, a septoplasty straightens the bone and/or cartilage inside the nose to correct any obstructions. The surgeon uses special tools to make the bone thinner or to straighten the nose.
A septoplasty may be necessary for someone who was born with a deviated or crooked septum. Although a minor deviation may not need treatment, when the deviated bone causes an obstruction that affects the patient's ability to breathe through the nose, it should be treated. An injury to the nose that breaks the nasal bone may also result in a deviated septum. A septoplasty may also be part of a plastic surgery procedure to straighten or change the shape of the nose. It may also be used to control nosebleeds that can't be stopped with conservative therapy.
In most cases, a septoplasty requires a general anesthetic, although it is occasionally performed with a local anesthetic and the patient remains awake. It may be performed in an outpatient surgery center or hospital. The surgery takes about one to one-and-a-half hours, and most people go home the same day. The surgeon makes a cut inside the wall on one side of the nose, lifts up the mucous membrane and moves, repositions or removes the cartilage or bone in the area. The membrane is stitched back in place, and packing and/or splint are applied.
Most people go home the same day. Although patients can often resume normal activities within a day or so of surgery, vigorous physical exercise is usually discouraged, and it may be uncomfortable to bend over. Both sides of the nose are usually packed with absorbent materials to prevent nose bleeds and collect any drainage. The packing is usually removed 24 to 36 hours in about a week after surgery. Swelling and drainage are common for several days after the surgery.
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