Septoplasty

The nasal septum divides one side of the nose from the other. In some patients the septum is perfectly straight, however, in many patients it is bent to one side or the other. Significant septal deviations can be associated with nasal congestion, sinusitis, headaches, or snoring. A septal deviation can be present from birth or it can be acquired from nasal trauma. There is no medical therapy that can straighten a deviated septum, but an operation called septoplasty is effective.

To perform the operation, a small incision is made inside the nose. The mucous membrane overlying the septum is elevated to expose the septal cartilage and bone. Deviated pieces of septum are removed or repositioned as necessary. The mucous membrane is returned to its original position and small sutures are placed to hold the tissue together. The sutures dissolve and do not have to be removed after surgery. There are no visible external incisions on the face and no facial bruising. The operation typically lasts approximately 45 minutes and is performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient surgery setting. Typically, the risks of septoplasty are low and complications occur infrequently. Pain medications are prescribed following surgery although discomfort is usually mild and only a very few doses are necessary.

Septoplasty

Figure 1a - View of the right side of the nasal cavity through an endoscope reveals a deviated nasal septum restricing the airway.

Septoplasty

Figure 1b - Following septoplasty and correction of the deviated septum, the airway is greatly improved and the patient’s nasal congestion symptoms resolved.

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