Septoplasty is a surgery that corrects a deviated septum and is performed on the inside of the nose to help a patient breathe easier. A deviated septum occurs when the cartilage that separates the nostrils is out of position and causes breathing problems, nosebleeds, and pain. While some might think rhinoplasty is a solution to this problem, it is not because rhinoplasty is only a cosmetic component that makes changes to the outside of the nose. To solve the problem of a deviated septum, there are many who turn to septoplasty to treat the obstruction of breathing on one or both sides of the nose. It can also be used for sinus surgery in order to get the septum back in the correct position so the sinus can open correctly. Septoplasty is sometimes performed at the same time as rhinoplasty but it’s not required to be performed together.
An ideal candidate for septoplasty is someone who:
The biggest misconception among patients is that septoplasty is going to change the way a nose looks. The reality is that septoplasty changes the inside of the nose without changing the look of the outside of the nose.
Septoplasty can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to perform under either local or general anesthesia. The total time depends on the amount of work the surgeon needs to perform.
The surgeon makes an incision on one side of the nose in order to reach the septum. The next step is to lift the mucous membrane that covers and protects the septum. The surgeon then moves the deviated septum into its correct position before repositioning the mucous membrane. The doctor will also remove any pieces of cartilage or bone that are in the area. Depending on the doctor, there might be some stitches placed to hold the membrane and septum in their correct positions. Otherwise, cotton is often used to keep them in place.
One common procedure performed at the same time as septoplasty is turbinate reduction. This is a tissue inside the nose that can swell and enlarge and also cause obstruction. It’s common to try and reduce the size of the turbinates at the same time as septoplasty. Some people have sinus disease so it’s normal to perform sinus procedures at the same time. Rhinoplasty can also be performed at the same time depending on the patient’s needs.
The cost of septoplasty can vary based on the patient’s insurance policy plan. A good insurance plan can cover the entire cost of the surgery. Otherwise, the cost can range from $4000-$12,500.Some of the cost might be covered by insurance if the surgery is deemed to be medically necessary to help a patient with any breathing issues.
In terms of RECOVERY and DOWNTIME, looking at the nose from the outside will show no sign of surgery. Patients should elevate their head while sleeping to reduce swelling. They should also avoid blowing their nose for three days and wear shirts that have buttons in the front so they won’t have to pull the shirt over their head and risk hurting the nose.
There will be congestion that lasts anywhere between 4 to 7 days which is the main recovery time. In terms of exercise, light cardio is okay for the first 3 weeks. After that, patients are allowed to lift weights and resume normal exercise activities.
Once the surgery is complete, it takes about 3 weeks for patients to see around 60% of their results. It can take 3 months for the swelling to go down and for patients to see the final results.
Once the final results are seen, the results should be permanent as long as the patient avoids any damage or trauma to the nose.
The main limitation of septoplasty is the age of the patient. Although there is no real age limit for the surgery, many doctors wait until patients are 18 or older as the nose is still growing and changing until that age.
Common risks of septoplasty include:
Whether septoplasty is the right solution for a patient or not can’t be determined by the patient. It takes a consultation with an experienced doctor to decide which procedure is best for the patient. If it is determined that septoplasty is the best option for the breathing problems experienced by the patient, a skilled surgeon can help solve those breathing issues for years to come.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - MA
Based on an exclusive interview by Dr. Arash Moradzadeh in Beverly Hills, CA