ALERTS & COVID-19 UPDATES Learn more: COVID-19 Resources; COVID-19 Testing; Vaccine Info; Visitor Policy; Support Us.

by Marlow A

Definition

This surgery straightens the wall that separates the right and left sides of the nose. When the wall is not straight, it is called a deviated septum .

Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done to help fix problems that can happen when the septum is not straight. These can be:

A person can be born with a deviated septum. It can happen as a person grows. It can also get bent or moved after an injury.

Septoplasty can also be done during other procedures such as rhinoplasty or sinus surgery.

Deviated Nasal Septum
Nucleus image
Copyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Numbness in the tip of the nose or upper front teeth
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Septal perforation—a hole in the septum
  • No changes in symptoms
  • Poor cosmetic outcome

The chances of problems are higher for people who:

  • Smoke
  • Drink excess alcohol
  • Have chronic diseases such as diabetes

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
  • Specialists you may need to see

Anesthesia

The doctor may give:

  • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed
  • General anesthesia—you will be asleep
  • Description of Procedure

    An incision will be made inside the nose. The septum lining will be lifted out of the way. The bend will be fixed by moving or reshaping it. The bent piece may need to be cut off. Next, the lining will be put back over the top of the septum. Gauze may be put in the nose to soak up any blood. A plastic splint may be used to keep the septum in place while it heals.

    How Long Will It Take?

    About 1 to 1.5 hours

    Will It Hurt?

    Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicines and home care can help after.

    Postoperative Care

    At Home

    For the first couple of days you should keep your head propped up when you are laying down. After a few days most people feel better. Some swelling could last for several weeks.

    Problems To Look Out For

    Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

    • Fever or chills
    • Redness, swelling, pain, excess bleeding, or pus coming from your nose
    • Packing from your nose falls into the back of your throat
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Vomit that is bloody or the color of coffee grounds
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you were given
    • Coughing, breathing problems, or chest pain

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery  https://www.entnet.org 

    American Rhinologic Society  http://www.sinushealth.com 

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery  https://www.entcanada.org 

    Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

    References

    Deviated septum. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at https://www.entnet.org//content/deviated-septum. Accessed March 3, 2022.

    Deviated septum. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/d/deviated-septum.html. Accessed March 3, 2022.

    Nasal packing: removing. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed March 3, 2022.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
    • Review Date: 12/2021
    • Update Date: 03/04/2022