Septoplasty 101: Answering Your Most Commonly Asked Questions

A woman can breathe better after getting a septoplasty.

Obstructed breathing can greatly affect your quality of life. A deviated septum can also cause problems such as chronic nosebleeds, nasal pressure, or sinus infections. Septoplasty surgery at my San Francisco plastic surgery practice gently adjusts the inner structures of the nose so patients can finally breathe comfortably and freely.

Up to 80% of people have septums that are deviated to some degree. However, if you have a major deviation due to genetics or injury, a bit of medical attention can make life much easier. Curious if this treatment is right for you? Here are a few answers to frequently asked septoplasty questions.

What is septoplasty? How is the surgery done?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that corrects a deviated septum. A deviated septum is when the cartilage and bone that divides the nasal airway becomes crooked, making it difficult to breathe through one of your nostrils.

The surgeon performs the procedure by making a thin incision along the septum, which allows them to remove excess cartilage or bone. In my practice, I often decide to realign the bone and cartilage instead, which conserves the nasal structures. This straightens out the nasal passages and makes breathing easier. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia or with a local anesthetic and sedation, and it lasts around 30 to 90 minutes. Most patients can return home the same day as their surgery.

How long does swelling last after septoplasty?

Swelling may last for 2 to 3 days after your septoplasty procedure, and it is normal for the nose to continue to drain for a few more days. I use a long-acting local anesthetic that can reduce or eliminate pain for between 3 to 5 days. Beyond that time, over-the-counter medication can help with any potential discomfort. Most patients experience better breathing fairly quickly after their surgery.

Does septoplasty cure snoring? Straighten your nose?

Septoplasty can improve sleep airflow or snoring issues caused by a deviated septum. The surgery can also fix a crooked nose by realigning the underlying cartilage and bone.

When can I blow my nose after septoplasty surgery?

Do not blow your nose for 2 weeks after surgery. It is vital to give your body plenty of time to heal after the procedure. Blowing your nose too early can damage the sutures and potentially cause bleeding. If you experience nasal pressure and feel the urge to sneeze, try to do so with your mouth open.

Can septoplasty surgery be combined with a rhinoplasty?

Yes, in many cases, we can combine septoplasty surgery with a rhinoplasty (nose job). It’s a great way for you to change the appearance of your nose while also correcting septum issues. However, it is important to remember that rhinoplasty will add to the cost of your surgery, as it is generally not covered by insurance. Discuss your options with your doctor to see which solutions are right for you.

If you struggle with chronic breathing issues, don’t force yourself to live with discomfort. Septoplasty is a safe, satisfying procedure that can instantly improve your quality of life.

If you’re interested in septoplasty, and you’re in the San Francisco area, please request a consultation online. You can also contact our practice by phone at (415) 441-1888.

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