There are three main things that you should know about septoplasty surgery: it fixes a deviated septum; improves the airflow through your nose, and it can be done as an outpatient procedure. Septoplasty is a surgical procedure mainly done to address a deviated nasal septum, which occurs when the cartilage separating the nostrils is improperly positioned. This can lead to frequent nosebleeds, pain, and breathing problems. The main goal of this particular surgery is to correct the alignment of the septum so that there is less obstruction to the airflow through your nose. Typically an outpatient procedure, a septoplasty can be done under local or general anesthesia.
To help you understand what a deviated septum is, imagine the wall of bone and cartilage dividing your nose into two separate nostrils heavily shifted to one side of the nose. This can lead to a much smaller nasal passage than the other, making breathing difficult. Some people may be born with a deviated septum, although it can also be caused by an injury to the nose. Surgery or septoplasty is the only way to correct the deviation, straighten the septum, and create better airflow through the nose.
A septoplasty surgery takes between 30 and 90 minutes to complete, although this depends on the complexity of the condition. General or local anesthesia may be administered, depending on what your doctor decides is best for your health. In a typical surgery, your doctor will make an incision on one side of the nose, creating access to the septum. The mucous membrane (the protective covering of the septum) is then lifted up so that the deviated septum can be placed in its right position. Any barriers like extra pieces of bone or cartilage are also removed before the mucous member is repositioned. Stitches might be needed to hold the membrane and the septum in place.
Risks associated with the procedure are rare, although some people may want a second septoplasty if they are unsatisfied with the results. Some risks include bleeding, scarring, altered nose shape, decreased the sense of smell, and perforation of the septum. While these are rare occurrences, you should consult with your physician to reduce your risks.