While some plastic surgeries are all about improving the way you look or making you look younger, others have both aesthetic and functional purposes. One example of a surgery that can improve looks and function is rhinoplasty. Some patients may decide to have nose surgery because they are dissatisfied with their nose’s shape or size. Others might not like the shape or size of their nose and may also have trouble breathing through it.
One cause of breathing problems through the nose is a deviated septum. The septum is the dividing wall between the nostrils. When it’s deviated, it leans to one side or the other, potentially blocking the nasal passage. Surgery, known as septoplasty or septorhinoplasty, is the only surefire way to fix a deviated septum.
Signs of a Deviated Septum
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, up to 80 percent of people have some amount of deviation in the septum. The condition doesn’t always cause symptoms and plenty of people get by just fine with a slight lean in their septum. But, there are cases when a deviated septum can cause significant discomfort or distress to a person.
One major symptom of a deviated septum is a blocked nostril or nasal passage. People with a blocked nasal passage may have difficulty breathing through the nose, particularly when they have a cold, upper respiratory infection or allergies. Due to the blocked nasal passage, a person might prefer to sleep on one side of their body over another. In some cases, particularly when younger people have a deviated septum, a person may snore or breathe noisily while asleep.
When you have a deviated septum, it’s also more likely that the nasal passage will dry out. A dry airway can increase your risk for nosebleeds. You also have a higher risk for sinus infections with a deviated septum. Some people also experience pain on one side of the nose or face.
How Does It Happen?
A deviated septum can be something you are born with. As you get older, the deviation can become more and more pronounced, making symptoms more apparent.
An injury to the nose can also lead to a deviated septum. For example, if you are punched in the nose or fall and hit your nose on a hard surface, the septum can move to one side or another.
What Happens During Septorhinoplasty
People with a mildly deviated septum may be fine without treatment or with using over-the-counter nasal sprays or decongestants to control or reduce symptoms. But, if your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, surgery is the only way to fully repair the deviation.
If your surgery is only performed to correct the septum, it is a septoplasty. When the surgery corrects the septum and reshapes the nose, it is a septorhinoplasty. During septoplasty, the surgeon will adjust the cartilage of the septum, removing pieces of it as needed and adjusting its position. Septorhinoplasty involves shaping the outer portion of the nose, either to reduce its size or improve its shape.
During the surgery, you may be given IV sedation or put under general anesthesia. The length of the procedure depends on how much work the surgeon is doing. A straight septoplasty will take less time than a combined rhinoplasty and septoplasty.
After the Surgery
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to follow after your surgery. Your recovery time will vary based on whether you had septoplasty or a combined surgery. Typically, you can expect to take one or two weeks off from work. If you’ve had rhinoplasty, you can usually expect some bruising and swelling in the area, particularly around the eyes. Since a septoplasty is usually performed through the nostrils, bruising and swelling are less common.
No matter what, you’ll want to treat your nose gently for several weeks or even months after your procedure. Don’t blow your nose until your surgeon gives you the all-clear. Be careful about what you eat, as some foods require a good amount of chewing, which can impact your healing nose. Keep your head elevated to keep swelling down and avoid exercise or other physical activity until your surgeon says it’s okay.
If a deviated septum is making it difficult for you to enjoy life, it’s time to see a nationally recognized, facial plastic surgeon specialist to learn what you can to do to fix it. Voted “Best in Brevard,” Dr. Ross Clevens is Brevard’s only practicing, double board certified facial plastic surgeon. To put an end to your nasal woes, contact his practice at (321) 727-3223 for an appointment today.