The Seattle

Plastic Surgery Center

William A. Portuese, M.D.

What Is Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. This procedure can improve nasal airflow and relieve congestion, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms related to a deviated septum. This article provides an overview of septoplasty, including what it is, how it’s performed, and what the potential risks are.

The nose consists of two nostrils that are separated by the nasal septum. The septum is composed of bone and cartilage and should be in the center of the nose. A deviated septum occurs when the septum is moved away from the centerline or becomes crooked or bent. This can cause problems with breathing as well as sinus infections, headaches, and other symptoms.

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that straightens the deviated septum by removing or reshaping parts of the cartilage or bone. It may also involve repositioning tissue from one side of the nose to the other in order to create symmetry and improve airflow through both nostrils. In this article, we will discuss what septoplasty is, how it’s performed, and potential risks associated with undergoing this procedure.

Definition Of Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that realigns and/or repairs the nasal septum, the thin wall that separates the two nostrils. The goal of this procedure is to improve breathing by restoring the normal anatomy of the nose. Septoplasty can also be used to correct a deviated septum, which occurs when the cartilage or bone in the septum is displaced from its normal position.

The procedure itself involves making an incision in either side of the nose to access and reshape or repair the septum. This can be done with traditional scalpels, specialized tools called osteotomes, or lasers. Once completed, the incision is closed with sutures and soft packing is inserted into each nostril to prevent swelling and bleeding. Depending on the extent of reshaping or repair needed, septoplasty may take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour.

Recovery time following septoplasty varies depending on individual factors such as age and general health. Most people experience some discomfort during recovery and may need pain medication for up to a week after surgery. Swelling typically resolves within two weeks but full recovery may take up to six weeks before breathing returns to normal levels.

Causes Of Septum Deviation

Septum deviation is a condition in which the septum, the wall between the two nostrils, is off-center or curved. It can cause difficulty breathing, as well as discomfort and pain. Septum deviation is caused by a variety of conditions, including genetics, trauma to the head or face, and environmental factors like allergies.

Genetics are thought to play a role in many cases of septum deviation. A deviated septum may be present at birth due to genetic factors that cause structural abnormalities. It can also develop later in life due to age-related changes in the structure of the nose.

Trauma to the head or face can also lead to septum deviation. A severe blow to the nose can cause cartilage and bone damage that results in a deviated septum. Additionally, environmental factors like allergies can irritate and inflame the mucosa inside the nose causing swelling and increased pressure on the septal cartilage that leads to deviation over time. These causes together account for most cases of septum deviation.

Benefits Of Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a procedure that corrects the shape of the nasal septum. It is useful for patients who have difficulty breathing due to a deviated septum. Septoplasty offers many advantages, including improvement of nasal airway obstruction and reduction of snoring.

The first benefit of septoplasty is improved breathing. During the procedure, the surgeon straightens and repositions the nasal septum, which helps alleviate airway obstruction caused by a deviated septum. This can help improve breathing in people with sinus issues or other medical conditions that cause nasal congestion or blockages. The result is often an improved quality of life with fewer episodes of breathlessness or wheezing.

The second benefit of septoplasty is reduced snoring. Snoring can be caused by a number of factors, including age, weight gain, and even sleep apnea. A deviated septum can lead to more severe cases of snoring as it narrows and blocks airflow through the nose during sleep. By correcting this deformity, the patient may experience less snoring and better sleep quality overall.

Septoplasty also offers aesthetic benefits to patients who are unhappy with the appearance of their noses due to a deviated septum or other deformities. The surgery can help reshape the nose for a more balanced look and improve overall facial symmetry. In addition, some patients may find relief from headaches related to sinus pressure following surgery, as well as improved sense of smell due to unblocked nasal passages. All these advantages make septoplasty an effective treatment for many people suffering from breathing problems related to a deviated septum or other nasal deformities.

Preparation For Surgery

Prior to undergoing a septoplasty procedure, it is important for a patient to prepare for the surgery. Preparation helps ensure that the operation will go as smoothly and safely as possible. The patient should understand what the procedure involves and what to expect during and after their recovery.

First, a patient needs to discuss any medical conditions with their doctor or surgeon prior to scheduling the septoplasty. Medical conditions include allergies, diabetes, asthma, or heart problems which can affect the procedure and recovery. Patients may also need to stop taking certain medications or herbs several days before surgery due to potential interactions with anesthesia or other medications administered during the operation.

In addition, patients may be instructed by their doctor on how to prepare for septoplasty prior to arriving at the hospital or surgical center. This may include fasting overnight before surgery and avoiding certain foods or drinks leading up to the day of surgery. Furthermore, smoking should be avoided in order to reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery.

Before proceeding with a septoplasty procedure, it is essential that patients take steps to prepare effectively for their upcoming surgery. Taking these precautions can aid in ensuring a successful operation and quicker recovery time for patients who are considering this type of procedure.

Procedure Details

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision inside the nostril and will remove part of the cartilage or bone of the septum to straighten it. The incision may be closed with sutures or nasal packing may be placed. After the procedure, antibiotics and nasal decongestants may be prescribed to help reduce swelling and reduce pain.

The surgery usually takes less than two hours to complete and can be done on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia. Recovery times vary from patient to patient but it typically takes 7-10 days for most patients to fully recover from their surgery. In some cases, follow-up visits with the doctor are necessary for additional examinations and medication changes if necessary.

For most patients undergoing septoplasty, there are no long-term side effects or complications associated with this procedure. However, as with any type of surgery, risks such as bleeding, infection, and scarring exist and should be discussed with your physician prior to making any decision regarding treatment options.

Recovery Time And Care

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum. The recovery time after the surgery is generally around two weeks, although this may vary depending on the patient’s particular circumstances. After the surgery, patients can expect some swelling and bruising in the nose for up to two weeks, accompanied by minor bleeding that should not last more than 24 hours.

Patients should follow their doctor’s instructions regarding post-operative care, which typically includes applying cold compresses to reduce swelling and controlling any pain with medication prescribed by the doctor. It is also important to avoid blowing your nose or sneezing vigorously during this time. In addition, patients are typically instructed to avoid strenuous activities for a few days after surgery.

Patients may be able to return to work or school within one week of the surgery if they are feeling well enough; however, it might take several weeks before they are able to resume normal activity levels. During this period of recovery, it is important for patients to closely monitor their symptoms and contact their doctor if they experience any complications such as increased pain or bleeding from the nose.


Complications from septoplasty may arise from the surgery itself or from pre-existing conditions that increase the patient’s risk. The most common complication is infection, which can occur during or after the procedure. Other possible complications include bleeding, scarring, and changes in smell or taste due to damage to the olfactory nerve. Additionally, a deviated septum may reoccur if the tissues are not stabilized properly during surgery. In rare cases, septoplasty can lead to perforation of the nasal septum or obstruction of adjacent structures such as the sinuses or Eustachian tube.

Patients with pre-existing conditions such as chronic sinusitis, allergies, and asthma are at increased risk for developing complications following a septoplasty procedure. Additionally, smokers are more likely to experience postoperative complications than non-smokers because smoking increases inflammation and tissue damage in the nasal passage. Patients should inform their surgeon of any medical conditions prior to undergoing surgery to reduce their risk of experiencing a complication.

Septoplasty can be an effective treatment for a deviated septum; however it is important for patients to weigh all associated risks before proceeding with surgery. Patients should also follow postoperative instructions closely and seek medical attention immediately if they experience any symptoms suggestive of a complication.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments for nasal obstruction caused by a deviated septum include chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture. Chiropractic treatment has been used to treat the underlying musculoskeletal deformity that can cause the septum to become deviated and cause obstruction. This form of treatment involves applying force to the head and neck area using manual adjustments. Acupuncture is another alternative treatment that has been used to reduce inflammation and improve breathing. This technique involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing.

Other non-surgical treatments include intranasal steroid sprays which are used to reduce swelling in the membranes of the nose and relieve symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. Other medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, may also be prescribed to reduce congestion in the nasal passages. In addition, lifestyle modifications such as avoiding tobacco smoke or other airborne irritants may help improve symptoms associated with a deviated septum.

The effectiveness of these alternative treatments varies from patient to patient; thus it is important for individuals who suffer from a deviated septum to consult their physician before pursuing any type of therapy. The doctor can provide advice regarding the best course of action for their particular situation.

Insurance Coverage

The alternative treatments discussed in the previous section may not be covered by insurance. As such, septoplasty may be the only viable option for individuals seeking to improve breathing difficulties due to a deviated septum. Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that corrects a deviated septum, allowing improved airflow and breathing.

Insurance coverage of septoplasty depends on individual policies and provider agreements. Generally, if the procedure is deemed medically necessary, it can be covered under health insurance plans. However, some providers may not cover elective procedures or those considered cosmetic in nature. Additionally, most insurance plans have specific criteria that must be met before they will cover the cost of a septoplasty procedure.

The best way to determine whether an insurance plan covers septoplasty is to contact the insurance provider directly for more information about their policy and any applicable requirements or exclusions. Patients should also consider discussing their options with their doctor before scheduling any procedure as this will provide them with valuable insight and advice regarding their overall care plan.

Cost Considerations

The cost of septoplasty can vary depending on the individual, their insurance coverage, and the geographic location where the procedure is performed. Generally, the cost includes pre-operative evaluations, surgical fees, anesthesia fees, and post-operative follow up visits. For those without insurance coverage for this procedure, it may be necessary to pay out of pocket for some or all costs associated with septoplasty.

In cases where a person’s health insurance covers part or all of the cost of septoplasty, the amount that must be paid out-of-pocket will depend on their specific policy details and deductible amount. It may also be necessary to pay additional fees such as office visit co-pays and lab work fees at each visit. It is important to review individual insurance policies carefully before undergoing septoplasty to understand any applicable deductibles or other expenses that are not covered by the insurer.

It is also recommended to contact surgeons in advance to inquire about their fees and payment options prior to scheduling surgery. This will allow individuals to better plan for any costs associated with septoplasty. Additionally, some surgeons may offer financing options for patients who are unable to cover all costs upfront.


Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum, which is an abnormal shifting of the wall that divides the two sides of the nose. This surgery can be beneficial for those suffering from breathing difficulties due to a deviated septum, as it can improve airflow and help reduce sinus infections. The procedure requires specialized training and experience, so it’s important for patients to research their options carefully before moving forward.

The pre-operative process includes assessment by an otolaryngologist or ENT specialist to determine if septoplasty is the best course of treatment for the patient. During the surgery, general anaesthesia may be administered and then cartilage and bone are removed from the septum in order to straighten it. Afterward, nasal packing might be required in order to promote proper healing.

Complications associated with this procedure may include infection, bleeding, numbness, or changes in smell or taste sensation. Alternative treatments include medications or injections intended to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. Insurance coverage varies depending on plan type and provider; cost considerations should also be taken into account when making decisions about treatment options. Ultimately, septoplasty can provide relief from severe breathing difficulties caused by a deviated septum but it is important for individuals to discuss all potential risks with their doctor before undergoing any kind of treatment.

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Plastic Surgery Center


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