The septum is the thin layer of cartilage and bone that separates one’s nose from the left and right. Whether due to trauma, such as a broken nose, or to the natural development of your midface, this divider can deviate within the nose and cause troubles breathing. A septoplasty, or deviated septum surgery, aims to straighten this vital part of your nose and allow for more natural and symmetric nose breathing. Some patients report a decrease or resolution of snoring as a result of this surgery.
Read on to learn more about Utah septoplasty, or schedule a consultation today!
One of the most common questions that is asked is “how much pain will I be in after surgery?” Fortunately, due to advances in techniques over the years, Dr. Wallin can do this surgery with much less pain than just a decade ago. Most patients will take Tylenol to help control pain, although you will have stronger medications in case they are needed.
Patients commonly ask if their nose will have to be packed after the surgery. Dr. Wallin finds this technique outdated and uses a special absorbable stitch to avoid the complete nasal obstruction that results from packing the nose. Newer splints with special breathing tubes are placed on the septum to sandwich this area to allow for the best healing. These soft, thin, and rubbery splints will be removed at your follow up appointment.
A septoplasty is not designed to change the shape of your nose. For patients that desire additional changes to the external appearance of the nose, rhinoplasty is normally needed in addition to a septoplasty.
A small incision is made inside one side of the nose, which allows access to the septum. The soft tissue called mucosa is elevated on both sides, and the deviated cartilage and bone are removed. Additional procedures are sometimes needed to support the nose and assure it will continue to have a great appearance for years to come.
Turbinates are small outpouchings of tissue on the sides of the nose on the opposite side of the septum. When a septum has significantly deviated, the turbinates will often touch the septum, which leads to trouble breathing. Most people have three turbinates on each side of their nose, but only the lowest turbinate is commonly reduced in size to improve airflow. This is done with a piece of specialized equipment called a microdebrider. This equipment removes the excess tissue from within the turbinate while leaving the outer layer intact. A turbinate reduction will be recommended if Dr. Wallin sees the size is contributing to your breathing troubles.
While there is not a treatment that moves the cartilage and bone without surgery, a few medications can help improve nasal breathing. Dr. Wallin will ask you if you have allergies and if you take medications such as antihistamines (Allegra, Claritin, Zyrtec, Xyzol), topical steroids (Flonase), topical decongestants (Afrin) or oral decongestants (Sudafed). These medications are commonly used to help improve nasal breathing.
Major risks of deviated septum surgery are rare but can be serious. A hematoma is a collection of blood that can collect within the operated area and needs to be drained. Without treatment, a hematoma can lead to a hole in the septum called a perforation. While not all perforations need to get repaired, some do.
The surgery normally involves temporary smell and taste changes due to swelling near the nerves that allow you to smell. There are reports of smell changes being permanent in nature. The septum provides an important structural element for your nose, and complete loss of it could lead to changes in the appearance of the nose, albeit very rare.
Once a facelift has been completed, the patient will have a bandage around the area to assist with healing. Bruising and swelling are common but subside within a couple of weeks and can be managed with medications prescribed by Dr. Wallin. We suggest that patients plan to take at least a 10-14 days off work to recover and avoid strenuous activity for two weeks after surgery. Dr. Wallin finds that most of his patients can resume their normal schedules for approximately one to two weeks after surgery though it may take a little more time for post-procedure swelling to resolve completely.
Dr. Wallin will clean out your nose at the follow up appointment scheduled between 5-7 days after surgery. Although you will be able to do most activities, he will ask you to avoid vigorous activities where your heart rate gets elevated for 2 weeks. Contact sports should be avoided for two months.
f you feel you have trouble breathing from your nose, trust Dr. Wallin to let you know why. A quick, non-painful, examination will provide you with the cause of your obstruction. You can then discuss options to open up your passages and get you breathing well. Trust a facial plastic surgeon with experience doing hundreds of septoplasties.
To learn more about deviated septum surgery in Utah, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wallin and his team today!