A septoplasty is a reconstructive surgery of the nose whose objective is to correct a deviated nasal septum. A septoplasty is for men and women who suffer from the functional or aesthetic consequences of a deviated septum (stuffy nose, nasal obstruction, deformity of the nose such as asymmetry).
What is a deviated nasal septum?
A deviation of the nasal septum is a deformation of the inner wall of the nose. This deviation may involve the cartilage or the bones of the nose, or both at once. A deviated nasal septum may be caused by a malformation (occurring at birth or during growth) or a trauma to the nose following a shock or an accident.
A deviated nasal septum may involve medical and / or aesthetic problems:
- A deviated nasal septum leads to chronic nasal obstruction, difficulty breathing, snoring, and even sinus and ear infections, and sometimes migraines. This breathing difficulty can cause poor sleep and a feeling of chronic fatigue.
- A deviated nasal septum can also cause an unattractive deformity of the shape of the nose (the nose is partially deflected on one side).
Nearly 80% of adults have some degree of nasal septum deviation. In most cases, this deviation is slight and does not result in aesthetic or respiratory repercussions.
The principle of a septoplasty
The principle of the intervention is to remodel or partially remove the deformed parts of the nasal septum responsible for the obstruction.
Two incision techniques can be performed depending on the patient's initial anatomy:
- An endonasal incision (with scar hidden inside the nose).
- Incision at the base of the nose for more complex deviations (external incision).
Once the nasal septum is freed from mucosal and cutaneous attachments, the surgeon proceeds with the partial removal and remodeling of the deformed parts of the septum.
The procedure ends with a suture and then splints on each side of the septum in some cases and two wicks to limit postoperative bleeding and edema.
In the case of a strongly deviated nasal septum, a septoplasty may be associated with surgical rhinoplasty: this is known as rhino-septoplasty.
A septoplasty procedure takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour 30. The procedure is generally performed under general anesthesia with a day only hospitalization.
Recovery after a septoplasty
The follow-up of a septoplasty is generally simple. The procedure is not really painful. Postoperative discomfort is mainly related to nasal dressing and wicks. The nasal dressing is kept for about a week while the wicks are removed in the evening or the day after surgery.
Short-term discomfort may occur, but it may be limited by appropriate drug therapy aimed essentially at reducing the edematous reaction.
During the first weeks after the procedure, bruises appear and the nose remains swollen, causing some breathing difficulty. The duration of this phenomenon varies considerably depending on the patients. In the case of an external approach, the nose will be inflated for 15 days before returning to its original shape. For most patients, the nose returns to a completely satisfactory appearance ten days after the procedure.
Result of a correction of a deviated nasal septum:
The respiratory result of a septoplasty can be assessed three weeks after the surgical procedure.
A normal life can resume in first days following the intervention. During the first month, sports activities must be reduced. Then, a normal sport activity can resume although it is recommended to avoid sports that involve risks of shock on the nose (as for any person, because the nose is fragile for everybody).
Exposure to the sun is possible as soon as the bruises are gone.
Smoking increases the risk of surgical complications of any surgery. Stopping smoking 6-8 weeks before the procedure eliminates this additional risk. If you smoke, talk to your doctor, surgeon, and anesthesiologist, or call Tobacco-Info-Service at 3989 to help reduce risk and put the odds on your side.
Reimbursement of a septoplasty
Septoplasty is a functional surgery that can be covered by social security under certain conditions.
A septoplasty causing respiratory discomfort may be covered by social security. A CT scan is generally performed to confirm the diagnosis before any intervention.
If an aesthetic gesture must be performed in addition (for example: resection of hump or refinement of the tip of the nose), it will not be covered by the health insurances. This act of aesthetic surgery of the nose is entirely the responsibility of the patient.
In the case of a deviation of the nasal septum that does not cause respiratory problems, septoplasty can not be reimbursed by social security.