Mr ENYI OFO
Consultant ENT, Head & Neck, Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgeon
BSc (Hons) MBBS (Lond) DO-HNS FRCS (ORL-NHS) PhD
WHAT IS SEPTOPLASTY?
This is an operation to straighten and correct a deviated, or bent, nasal septum.
WHAT IS A DEVIATED NASAL SEPTUM?
The nasal septum is the wall of bone and cartilage that divides or partitions the nose into two separate sides (right and left). A deviated nasal septum is when this partition is moved to one side of the nose.
CAUSES OF DEVIATED NASAL SEPTUM
Some people are born with a deviated nasal septum (Congenital), or it could develop during growth of the facial skeleton in childhood. For most people, it is acquired as a result of external trauma to the nose.
SYMPTOMS OF DEVIATED NASAL SEPTUM
A deviated nasal septum may not cause any specific problems in some individuals. However it can be bothersome to others and the symptoms may include;
Difficulty breathing through the nose,
nasal congestion/discharge (can be one sided),
recurrent sinus infections,
snoring or sleep apnoea
headaches or facial pain
Diagnosis of a deviated septum is via nasal examination using a nasal endoscope and/or a nasal speculum. Imaging with a CT scan can reveal the extent in severe cases.
Septoplasty is the surgical correction and straightening of the nasal septum and is carried out through the nostrils under a general anaesthetic as a day case procedure. The operation takes around 45 minutes and involves removal of parts of the bent and distorted cartilage or bone, following which the nasal septum is then reset back into a straight position.
COMPLICATIONS OF SURGERY
As with any operation, complications can arise and include pain, bleeding and infections at the site of the surgery.
Complications specifically related to septoplasty may include;
formation of blood clots, abscess or haematoma
perforation of the nasal septum
altered external shape of the nose
decreased sense of smell
lower facial numbness.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
Patients are usually discharged on the same day of surgery. You will be advised to stay off work for a period of two weeks to minimise bleeding or catching an infection. Medication to relieve symptoms of pain will be advised. It is worth knowing that in some patients the septal deviation may return as the cartilage returns to its original position.