Deviated Nasal Septum
A deviated nasal septum may interfere with breathing, causing or contributing to the following symptoms:
- Mouth Breathing
- Sleep Apnea
- Recurrent Sinus Infections
- Frequent Nosebleeds
- Occasional Headaches
Facial pain of nasal origin and earaches may also be related to a deviated nasal septum, which may be developmental or result from injury.
Treatment – Septoplasty Procedure
A septoplasty is the operation to correct this condition. The nasal septum separates the interior of the nose into two cavities, and it’s composed of bone and cartilage. In this procedure, incisions are made inside the nose to provide access to the septum. Portions will be trimmed, reshaped or removed to ensure support is maintained and maximum breathing space is achieved. A septoplasty shouldn’t change the outward appearance of the nose.
Turbinates are curved ridges in the nose that protect the nasal passages and warm and humidify the air you breathe. They can swell or shrink with various conditions. Enlarged turbinates can block the inside of the nose and interfere with breathing and adequate sinus drainage. Your doctor may recommend trimming or cauterizing the turbinates when the septoplasty is performed. If so, just enough turbinate bone and mucosa will be removed to increase breathing space and allow the turbinates to function properly.
Nasal Packing After Surgery
After the procedure, packing and plastic splints may be placed in the nose to reposition the lining, hold the septum in place and to reduce bleeding and internal scarring. Expect some throat dryness and irritation due to mouth breathing. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage pain after the surgery. Avoid products containing aspirin or ibuprofen which may cause bleeding.
The packing is usually removed within (24-72) hours after surgery. This is done in the physician’s office. Some temporary discomfort and bleeding are associated with this procedure.
Swelling usually occurs inside the nose for (1-2) weeks postoperatively and is temporary unless a cold or allergies are present. Crusts and scabs will form inside the nose, and saline spray is used to cleanse and aid in healing.
The surgery is done as an outpatient procedure under local or general anesthesia. If local anesthesia is chosen, a sedative is given to aid in relaxation. Tapping, grinding and scarping sounds are likely to be heard during the procedure under local anesthesia. Under general anesthesia, the entire body will be asleep so you will not feel, hear or remember anything. As always, general anesthesia involves a higher risk and cost. Bleeding, infection or septal perforations (hole in the partition) are complications that may occur during or after surgery. If so, your surgeon will deal with them appropriately.