A nasal septoplasty is a procedure that corrects a deviated septum, or the bone and cartilage dividing nasal passages into two nostrils. A deviated septum in which cartilage and bone are displaced may be present from birth or caused by a nasal injury. The septum is made from bone and cartilage, which are lined by a thin membrane known as mucosa that acts like skin inside the nose and keeps the inside of the nose moist.
About 80% of people have some deviation to the nasal septum, but only a few have significant symptoms that the septum must be corrected. Symptoms include difficulty breathing through the nose, sinus infections, or continuous nasal congestion. A septal deviation can also cause the nose to appear crooked. The only way to permanently cure these symptoms is through surgery, though some medications can provide temporary relief. Dr. Shapiro performs septoplasty surgery in Scottsdale to correct a deviated septum and improve breathing.
This surgical procedure will move the bone or cartilage of the septum to create more even breathing passages that can also make the nostrils appear more even and the nose straighter. Surgical correction of a deviated septum typically involves straightening the septum through repositioning it or sometimes removing parts that are not symmetrical.
The procedure first raises the mucosa lining off the bone and cartilage to reshape the septum or remove a portion. The lining is then reattached. This surgery is performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia.
Many patients request changes to improve the appearance of their nose at the same time as this procedure. This requires adding rhinoplasty, which improves the appearance of the nose and brings it in better harmony with the rest of the face.
This procedure is not painful and typically has a short recovery. Internal splints will likely be placed to stabilize the new midline position of the septum. These splints will be removed painlessly one week after surgery. Splits are used because the septal cartilage has “memory” and attempts to assume its initial shape and bend after surgery unless this intervention is used.
If a rhinoplasty is added to the surgical correction of the septum, external splints will also be removed after one week to reveal the new, straight nose.
Because this surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, patients may go home the same day and return for follow-up appointments. It is normal to feel fatigue or mild pain after the procedure, as well as nasal congestion and mild drainage. Dr. Shapiro, a Scottsdale plastic surgeon, will prescribe oral pain medication to minimize discomfort. Stuffiness is the result of swelling and typically improves after the first week.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks to correcting the septum, including bleeding, infection and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Potential risks include unsatisfactory results, a decrease in the sense of smell, a septal hemotoma in which blood collects in the nasal space that must be drained and septal perforation that creates an opening in the septum. These risks can be greatly minimized by choosing an experienced and board certified surgeon to perform the procedure, such as Dr. Shapiro.
If you are considering this procedure to correct a deviated septum, contact our Scottsdale office to schedule your consultation.
Am I a candidate for this procedure?
If you have nasal obstruction, breathing problems or a visibly deviated nose, you may be a candidate for this procedure. There are many problems that may cause difficulty breathing or nasal congestion, however, including polyps. The best way to determine if you have a deviated septum that requires correction is through a consultation with Dr. Shapiro, which will involve assessing your nose with a nasal endoscopy.
Will my nose be broken during the surgery?
Unless you choose to have a rhinoplasty performed as well, this surgery will not involve the exterior of your nose and your nose will not be broken. External bruising will be unlikely.
Will insurance cover my procedure?
Some health insurance companies do cover correction of a deviated septum if it is shown to impede normal breathing. Prospective patients should contact their health insurance company to find out for sure, as prior authorization is typically necessary. Some insurance companies consider this an experimental or investigational procedure unless certain conditions are met.