The septum separates your nose into two nostrils. When this important structure is crooked, it can cause breathing difficulties and increase your risk of sinus infections. If you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms due to a deviated septum, septoplasty is designed to correct the issue, so you can breathe easily.

A deviated septum:

Why does it happen?

When you have a deviated septum, one side of the nose is wider and the other side is narrower. This restricts airflow and can sometimes block the narrowed side. 

Some patients are born with a deviated septum. Others develop it after an injury to the nose – either during childbirth or from an accident. As people age, an already deviated septum can worsen, resulting in breathing challenges and other symptoms.

Symptoms

Many people have some degree of a deviated septum. Oftentimes, there are no symptoms. But when the deformity is severe, it can hamper airflow through one side of the nose, causing:

  • Nasal obstruction. A blockage associated with a deviated septum can make it difficult to breathe. 
  • Nosebleeds. Crusting and bleeding is common among patients with a severe deviated septum.
  • Sleep challenges. If one of your nasal passages is smaller than the other, you may prefer sleeping on one side of your body to breathe easier. Your partner may also notice noisy breathing during sleep. 
  • Recurrent sinus infections. Because a crooked septum can prevent the sinuses from draining properly, recurrent sinus infections is a common symptom of a deviated septum.

Your consultation: A holistic plan for lasting relief

At Austin Face & Body, we believe in a holistic approach to surgery. That means we take the entire patient into account when planning a procedure. We strive to understand what symptoms you’re hoping to resolve with your septoplasty – along with any cosmetic issues you’d like to address during surgery.

During the examination, we will insert a long scope into your nose so we can examine the septum and the nearby structures within the nose. Based on our findings, we will establish the severity of your deviated septum and begin planning a custom procedure that can restore healthy breathing. 

Are you a candidate?

As a general rule, we recommend septoplasty after non-invasive medical therapy – such as decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal steroid sprays – have failed to provide symptom relief. When this occurs, the only way to breathe easier is to surgically correct the deviated septum. 

Handsome man staring to the side holding sunglasses

The procedure: What to expect

Septoplasty is performed under general anesthesia and takes about two hours to complete. To begin, we will lift the mucosa lining that covers the cartilage and bone to gain access to those underlying structures. This is a critical step of the procedure because the lining is fragile. Any trauma may result in a tear as the mucosa is lifted away. 

From there, we will attempt to straighten the septum cartilage and bone by reshaping those areas and removing portions if necessary. If enlarged turbinates are exacerbating your breathing issues, we may reduce those structures as well. We will then replace the mucosal lining and close the incisions.  

Septoplasty incision options

If you’re only undergoing a septoplasty – without cosmetic reshaping of the nose – we will create one incision hidden inside the nostril, resulting in no visible scarring. Through that small opening, we can access the edge of the septal cartilage and gently lift the skin lining. 

If you’ve opted for a simultaneous rhinoplasty, we will place the incision along the columella, which is the thin area of skin separating the two nostrils. Through that opening, we can both straighten the deviated septum and reshape your nose to meet your cosmetic expectations. 

Recovery

After surgery, both nostrils will be packed. A friend or family member will need to drive you home, where you should rest for a few days. During this time, congestion and bleeding is to be expected as you recover, though these symptoms should subside within two weeks. You may return to sedentary work and school in about one week. 

Reshape your nose during a septoplasty 

Septoplasty and rhinoplasty are often performed together – and there are many benefits to doing so. If you want to correct a deviated septum and address cosmetic imperfections on your nose, we may recommend performing both procedures at the same time. By combining two surgeries in one, you reduce the cost, speed the recovery, and increase the convenience factor. 

FAQ

How effective is a septoplasty?

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, it’s estimated that 85 percent of people report an improvement in their symptoms after surgery.

Can children and teenagers undergo a septoplasty?

This procedure is not performed on minors because the septum continues to grow until around age eighteen.

What are nasal turbinates?

The turbinates are long, bony structures that compose four air passages in each nostril’s airway. When you inhale through the nose, the turbinates filter, heat, and moisten the air.

The mucosal lining that covers the turbinates also traps and filters particles in the air, making them an important component of the immune system. When the turbinates are enlarged, they can contribute to breathing challenges. As such, enlarged turbinates are often addressed during a septoplasty.

What is a nasal obstruction?

Nasal obstruction occurs when the nasal passages are blocked. It often happens due to a deviated nasal septum and can cause voice changes, nasal drainage, mouth breathing, and recurrent sinus infections. Septoplasty is considered to be the gold-standard treatment for a nasal obstruction that is caused by a deviated septum.

Schedule a consultation today

If you suffer from a deviated septum, please schedule a consultation at Austin Face & Body today to discover how we can restore healthy breathing and improve your quality of life. 

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