This page will give you information about the surgical procedure septoplasty. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is a deviated nasal septum?
The septum is the cartilage and bone inside your nose that separates your nostrils. The septum is usually straight but it can be deviated (bent), causing symptoms of a blocked nose.
Septoplasty is the operation that treats a deviated septum.
What are the benefits of surgery?
Your septum will be straight which should relieve your symptoms of a blocked nose.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Surgery is recommended as it is the only dependable way to cure the condition. You cannot straighten your septum without surgery.
What does the operation involve?
Your surgeon will make a cut on the lining of your nose over your septum and lift the mucosa away from the cartilage and bone. They will remove the parts of the cartilage and bone that are bent and they will put the rest back in a straight position.
Your surgeon may place some packing in your nose to prevent bleeding.
What complications can occur?
Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- infection of the surgical site (wound)
- blood clot in the leg
- blood clot in the lung
Possible complications specific to this operation
- adhesions, where scar tissue forms deep inside your nose and can obstruct airflow
- developing a collection of blood (haematoma) or an abscess between the layers of your septum
- making a hole in your septum
- damage to the nerves that supply the skin and the gum over your front upper teeth
- change to the shape of your nose
- reduced sense of smell
- toxic shock syndrome, which is an infection of your bloodstream
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day.
If you had non-dissolvable packing in your nose, you will need to stay overnight and the packing will be removed the next morning.
You will need to stay home from work and away from groups of people for 2 weeks. This is to avoid catching a cold, which could result in an infection.
Do not exercise, have a hot bath or bend down for 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks, regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities sooner. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities.
Surgery will result in you having a straight septum, which should relieve your symptoms of a blocked nose.
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Last reviewed: September 2019