Septoplasty is surgery to straighten the middle partition of the nose. It should not be confused with rhinoplasty, which is a surgical procedure to correct or enhance the appearance of the nose. If the procedures are combined then the operation is called a septorhinoplasty.
The septum is the structure of cartilage and bone that separates the nose into right and left channels. The septum can become deviated as a result of a congenital deformity, trauma or illness, and may require straightening.
Am I a suitable candidate for a septoplasty?
Although people many people live with a bent or deviated septum, it can cause a number of problems that affect quality of life. These include a blocked nose, snoring, sleep apnoea, breathing difficulties and occasionally sinus problems.
What does a septoplasty entail?
A septoplasty typically takes about twenty minutes to carry out. It is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. Mr Julian Hamann will usually make all the incisions inside the nose, so there will be no external scars.
The septum is straightened by loosening the septum, repositioning it in the middle and then resecuring it. Sometimes small amounts of bone and cartilage are removed, or grafts taken from elsewhere to rebuild it. Mr Julian Hamann will then put in any internal stitches (usually dissolvable) that are required to hold the septum in its new position. When performing a septoplasty, Mr Hamann will always take into account the external appearance of the nose.
What is the recovery process like after a septoplasty?
Julian Hamann does not routinely use nasal packing after septoplasty. If nasal packing is required, it is usually removed about two hours after surgery. Very rarely, splints are needed to keep the septum in the correct position. If used, they will be removed approximately one week later.
As all incisions are made internally, there is usually no visible sign that you have undergone a septoplasty. Mr Julian Hamann will give you comprehensive instructions on how to manage the recovery process and will prescribe nasal drops or antibiotics if required.
Are there any potential risks or complications associated with a septoplasty?
This is a relatively safe procedure with minimal risks. There is a possibility of infection or excessive bleeding, but you will be carefully monitored after your procedure. Very occasionally people can develop a hole in the septum (a “septal perforation”). This does not usually cause a problem, but can cause a quiet whistling noise when breathing through the nose. As the septum forms part of the support structure of the nose the appearance can be affected, although this is very rare. If a change in shape does occur, it is usually in the form of a small dip above the tip of the nose and can be corrected with further surgery. If a general anaesthetic is used, then there are the usual risks associated with an anaesthetic.
Occasionally, a repeat procedure may be required.
Mr Julian Hamann will explain all potential risks or complications at your consultation.