Published: Mar. 8, 2007
Updated: Feb. 15, 2010
A septoplasty is performed to straighten a deviated septum. Patients with a deviated septum often notice chronic nasal obstruction that does not appear to improve with medications such as antihistamines or topical nasal steroids.
In a septoplasty an incision is made inside the nose, and the cartilage and bone are straightened. Sometimes soft plastic splints have to be placed within the nasal cavity to prevent scarring and to keep the septum in the middle. If soft plastic splints are placed, they remain in place for approximately one week. In general, no packing is used after a septoplasty.
A septoplasty does not result in any cosmetic change to the external appearance of your nose. Additionally, there is no bruising that occurs in the face. It is generally accompanied by a mild to moderate amount of discomfort at the tip of the nose, and perhaps on the roof of your mouth. Pain medications and antibiotics are given during the healing process.
After a septoplasty it is very important that your nose stay moistened. You will be asked to spray a salt water solution in your nose every two hours while awake.
You can buy salt water solution over the counter at your local pharmacy, or make this yourself by combining one-quarter teaspoon of salt with one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of distilled water.
You cannot over-moisten or spray your nose. The moistening action of the salt water speeds healing. If you do not use the salt water, you will find that the mucus will crust within your nose and can become very uncomfortable.
Another good idea to keep your nose clear and comfortable is to sit in a small bathroom with a shower that is turned on hot to provide a very steamy environment. This can help loosen up the mucus within your nose so that you can breathe easier and are more comfortable.
Most patients recover quickly from a septoplasty procedure to fix a deviated septum, and notice improved breathing within two to six weeks after the procedure.