A septoplasty is a surgical procedure that corrects a deviated (bent) nasal septum, the structure that divides the two nostrils within your nose.
What is a septoplasty?
A septoplasty is an operation that treats a deviated nasal septum.
The nasal septum is made from cartilage and bone inside your nose that separates your nostrils. It is usually straight but in some people it may be caused at birth by the nose being compressed during delivery or during life by a single or multiple episodes of nasal trauma. A deviated nasal septum causes one nasal passage to be smaller and the opposite nasal passage to be wider than normal. A mild deviation of the nasal septum is very common and as it is usually caused minimal or no symptoms of nasal blockage, it requires no treatment. A moderate or severe deviated nasal septum can cause difficulty breathing through the nose, nosebleeds, and loud nasal breathing during sleep.
If your septal deviation is causing you sufficient symptoms, your surgeon may recommend a surgery to straighten and reposition your septum and remove any parts that are causing a blockage to help alleviate these symptoms.
Sometimes the procedure is performed to correct a visibly noticeable bend in your nose during cosmetic rhinoplasty and is known as septorhinoplasty.
How long does the septoplasty surgery take?
The procedure usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to perform. A general anaesthetic is usually recommended, particularly if turbinate trimming is also performed.
During the operation, your surgeon will make an invisible incision inside your nose to one side of the septum so there will be no scars or bruising on your face.
They will lift the inner lining of your nose away from your cartilage and bone, straighten your septum and remove any parts that are causing obstruction. They will then replace the lining and stitch it in place.
Complex cases or where rhinoplasty surgery is combined may require a cut across the skin between your nostrils.
A dressing may be applied to each nasal passage at the end of the operation for a few hours in order to reduce bleeding. The dressing will block your nose so you will need to breathe through your mouth until it is removed.
Small pieces of plastic, called splint, may be placed in your nose to prevent scar tissue from forming. They are removed after about a week.
How long does it take to recover from a septoplasty procedure?
The procedure is usually a day case procedure, so you can expect to go home on the same day.
Our Ramsay team will advise you about your recovery and your surgeon arrange follow-up to assess your progress.
It is advised that you rest at home for at least a week. You can then return to work unless your job requires heavy lifting when you will need two weeks off work.
You can expect a little blood-coloured watery fluid discharge from your nose for up to 10 days after your septoplasty which should lessen as time goes on.
Your nose will be partially blocked and you will feel like you have a heavy head cold for the first two weeks. Your surgeon may advise you on the use of a salt-water wash, decongestant nose drops and sprays to help keep your nose relatively clear during this period.
You can expect the front of your nose to be tender for up to a couple of months.
Your stitches inside the front of your nose will dissolve and fall out by themselves.
To prevent nose bleeding, you should not blow your nose for about a week unless advised by your surgeon. If you need to sneeze, sneeze with your mouth open so as to not stifle the sneeze.
What are the potential complications of a septoplasty?
The potential complications include:
- A post-operative nosebleed
- Developing a collection of blood in the septum (septal haematoma)
- A septal perforation
- A dip in the bridge of the nose (nasal saddle)
- With a septoplasty as part of a septorhinoplasty, numbness of the tip of the nose.
Your surgeon is required to keep a record of their post-operative complications so should be able to provide you with information on the incidence of these complications.
What is the cost of septoplasty surgery?
The costs of the surgery, when medically necessary, are covered by most medical insurance policies. Cosmetic rhinoplasty is not usually covered by insurance, but if you are combining it with a septoplasty, then the septoplasty to alleviate breathing problems may be covered by your insurance plan. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written authorisation prior to commencing treatment.
We also offer a number of finance options to pay for your surgery, including: All-inclusive Total Care where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price delivers direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance, pay as you go and, competitive medical finance loans.
Septoplasty at Ramsay Health Care UK
Septoplasty is performed at many of our Ramsay Hospitals to provide convenient, local and high-quality care.
At Ramsay Health Care UK, septoplasty is performed by our accredited, skilled and experienced ENT surgeons who are supported by professional, caring and friendly care teams in clean hospital surroundings using the latest equipment.
Contact us to book an appointment!
Reviewed by Mr Duncan McRae