The nasal septum divides the nose into the two nostrils or airways. When this septum is defective in structure or position, it can cause several physical difficulties like breathing problems, sleep apnea, bleeding, sinusitis, etc. The surgery to correct the nasal septum is known as septoplasty. The surgery is very common and has a high rate of success.
When the bone and cartilage separating the two chambers is crooked and deformed, it prevents the air from flowing properly through either one of the nostrils. The people suffering from this condition often take to breathing through their mouth and this leads to respiratory tract infections. So, the septum is fixed with the help of septoplasty.
1. First, your medical history is taken, a thorough physical examination is conducted and the nose is photographed from the inside and the outside. You may also be asked to avoid medication like ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin for a few days since these can increase the bleeding after surgery.
2. Septoplasty is performed under general or localized anesthesia and takes about 90 minutes. Incisions are made on the inside of the nose and the mucous membrane is lifted.
3. Then, the pieces of cartilage that are affecting normal functioning are repositioned or removed.
4. If the nasal bone is causing the septum to be wrongly aligned, then cuts are made on the bone and it is positioned correctly.
5. Sometimes, cartilage grafts (called spreader grafts) are put in between the upper nose cartilage and the septum to widen the narrow nostril.
6. After this, the mucous membrane is put back in place and stitched.
Nasal support is put inside the nose to help it heal and keep it straight. The support is removed after two days but there may be swelling and occasional nasal discharge for a few days. The tissues and cartilage become stable within 4 to 6 months.
You are asked not to blow your nose or cough and sneeze too much as these might displace the nasal support. The head is to be kept at a higher level than the rest of the body while sleeping and physically demanding exercises are to be avoided in order to prevent nosebleeds.