Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. When the bone and cartilage making up the septum – the wall that divides your nostrils – is crooked, it causes obstruction of the nasal airways and makes breathing difficult. This can lead to nosebleeds, snoring, sleep apnea and chronic sinusitis. Surgery to straighten the septum can eliminate these conditions and improve your quality of life.
Very few people have a perfectly straight septum. It can be deviated at birth or naturally bend to one side or another during childhood and puberty. Trauma or injury, such as a broken nose, can also cause a deviated septum.
In determining whether you are a candidate for septoplasty, your doctor will examine your nasal passages and discuss your medical history, especially the symptoms you are experiencing as a result of your deviated septum. Typically, septoplasty is not performed unless other methods to treat your breathing problems are unsuccessful.
Septoplasty is generally performed in an outpatient surgery center using either local or general anesthesia, and should take 60 to 90 minutes. Your surgeon will reposition the septum by trimming and straightening the bent cartilage and bone, working through the nostrils. The incisions are stitched shut with absorbable thread, and silicone splints are often placed inside the nostrils to keep the septum straight as it heals. Packing may be placed in your nostrils to prevent bleeding.
Afterward, you’ll be given instructions that will help prevent swelling and bleeding. You’ll want to avoid blowing your nose, limit strenuous activities and elevate your head while sleeping.
Symptoms improve in the majority of people undergoing this procedure, and complications are rare.
Endoscopic septoplasty is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery to correct a deviated septum. This camera-guided surgical procedure offers excellent visualization of cartilage and bone, and allows for a targeted approach at correcting deformities.
Endoscopic septoplasty is less invasive than the conventional procedure. It offers better visualization under direct light, improved access for additional nasal surgeries, reduced blood loss, less postoperative swelling and pain, easier posterior septal spur correction (difficult to reach and often missed during conventional surgery), a lower risk of septal perforation and hematoma and eliminates the need for nasal packing (in most cases). These benefits translate to a shorter hospital stay, less troublesome recovery period, and a quicker return to normal activities.
It is especially helpful in revision surgeries where nasal obstructions persist; endoscopic septoplasty allows the surgeon to take a guided approach at making the necessary corrections, which often prove technically challenging otherwise. It’s generally less expensive than a conventional septoplasty. Your surgeon will best be able to determine whether endoscopic septoplasty will benefit you.