Septoplasty is a surgery to straighten a deviated septum. The septum is the wall that separates the right and left sides your nose. It’s made of cartilage and bone. It’s lined with a thin mucous membrane.
A normal septum is straight and centered. A deviated septum is bent or off-center. The deviation can happen:
Septoplasty can also be done during other procedures such as rhinoplasty or sinus surgery.
Septoplasty may be an option if the deviated septum blocks the airway. This can cause:
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:
Your chances of problems are higher for:
Leading up to your surgery, talk to your doctor about:
Local or general anesthesia may be used. Local anesthesia will numb the area. General anesthesia will put you to sleep.
A cut will be made inside the nose. The lining of the septum will be lifted up and out of the way. The bend will be straightened out by moving it or reshaping it. The bent piece may need to be cut off. Next, the lining will be replaced over the top of the septum. Gauze may be placed in the nose to soak up any blood. A plastic splint may be used to keep the septum in place while it heals.
About 1-1½ hours
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Medicines will ease pain afterwards.
During your stay, the healthcare staff will take steps to lower your chances of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your chances of infection such as:
To help with healing:
Your doctor will check your progress and remove any packing or the splint on follow up visits. Nasal packing is taken out 1-2 days later. The splint may stay in the nose for up to a week.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
American Rhinologic Society
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Deviated septum. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at https://www.entnet.org//content/deviated-septum. Accessed July 3, 2018.
Deviated septum. Cedars-Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/d/deviated-septum.html. Accessed July 3, 2018.
Septal deviation and perforation. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/nose-and-paranasal-sinus-disorders/septal-deviation-and-perforation. Updated September 2017. Accessed July 3, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD