Following the Septoplasty Procedure
Septoplasty procedure usually involves a judicious excision/realignment of a portion of the bone and/or cartilage in the nasal cavity. Under general or local anesthesia, the surgeon works through the nostrils, making an incision in the lining of the septum to reach the cartilage targeted in the operation. Sufficient cartilage is preserved for structural support. After the septum is straightened, it may then be stabilized temporarily with small plastic tubes, splints, or sutures internally. Most septoplasty surgeries are completed in 60 minutes or less, not including recovery time.
The nasal septum is the separation between the two nostrils. In adults, the septum is composed partly of cartilage and partly of bone. Septal deviations are either congenital (present from birth) or develop as a result of an injury. It is typically only the most severely deformed septa that produce significant symptoms and require surgical intervention. However, many septoplasty procedure are performed during rhinoplasty procedures, which are most often performed for cosmetic purposes.
Before performing a septoplasty surgery, there is little septoplasty procedure which has to be done. First the surgeon will evaluate the difference in airflow between the two nostrils. As with any other operation under general anesthesia, patients are evaluated for any physical conditions that might complicate surgery and for any medications that might affect blood clotting time. If a general anesthetic is used, then the patient is advised not to drink or eat after midnight the night before the surgery. In many cases, septoplasty can be performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia. Conditions that might preclude a patient from receiving a septoplasty procedure include excessive cocaine abuse, Wegener’s granulomatosis, malignant lymphomas, and an excessively large septal perforation.
Patients who receive septoplasty are usually sent home from the hospital later the same day or in the morning after the surgery. Aftercare includes a list of detailed instructions for the patient that focus on preventing trauma to the nose. The head needs to be elevated while resting during the first 24-48 hours after surgery. A small amount of bloody discharge is normal but excessive bleeding should be reported to the physician immediately. Antibiotics are usually not prescribed unless the packing is left in place more than 24 hours. Most patients do not suffer significant amounts of pain, but those who do have severe pain are sometimes given narcotic pain relievers. Patients are often advised to place an ice pack on the nose to enhance comfort during the recovery period. Patients who have splint placement usually return seven to 10 days after the surgery for examination and splint removal. If the patients’ don’t want to do a revision, then the patients must do this aftercare septoplasty procedure.