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Septoplasty is the name given to a specific type of rhinoplasty, the goal of which is to correct a deviated septum.

The septum is the small piece of cartilage and bone that divides the nasal cavity into two separate chambers – or nostrils. Ideally, the septum should be straight, creating equal airflow through both chambers of the nose. However, it can be or become bent. If this happens, you could experience a range of issues, the most obvious being permanent symptoms of a blocked nose.

Causes of a deviated septum

There are predominantly two reasons why someone might have a deviated septum. For some people, their septum will be congenital – present from birth. This occurs due to an issue with your development when you are in the womb. Alternatively, you could suffer a traumatic injury to the nose (such as a fall or being hit in the face by a fast-moving object) and this can cause the nasal septum to be moved out of position.

Symptoms of a deviated septum

Many people with a deviated septum don’t experience any symptoms at all and may go years without realizing that their septum isn’t straight. However, some patients experience a range of symptoms due to this deformity, including:

- Nasal blockages which make it difficult to breathe through one or both nostrils. It may be more obvious when you have a cold or if you suffer from allergies.

- Suffering from nosebleeds. The surface of the septum can become dry, and this increases your risk of suffering from a nosebleed.

- Snoring / loud breathing when you are asleep. This is caused by difficulty with the passing of air through the nostrils.

- Facial pain. This is believed to be attributed to an accumulation of pressure on one side of the face due to the deviated septum.

- Recurrent sinus infections.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is possible that you may have a deviated septum and should seek the advice of our expert cosmetic surgery team to obtain a diagnosis and discuss treatment.

The septoplasty procedure

A septoplasty is the only way to correct a deviated septum. The surgery can be performed using a combination of a local anesthetic and sedation or using a general anesthetic. The incisions are made on the inside of your nostrils, enabling you to avoid scarring. Our surgeon will make a cut in the lining of the nose, remove the parts of the cartilage and bone that are bent and reposition the rest so that it is straight and the nasal cavities on each side are equal.

Although septoplasty can be performed as a standalone procedure, it can also be combined with another type of rhinoplasty if you wish to also undergo some cosmetic changes to the shape or size of the nose. In this instance, the procedure is usually called septorhinoplasty.

Septoplasty procedures are fairly straightforward, and you should be able to go home the day following your procedure. Some swelling and discomfort is normal, and you will be given pain medication to keep these under control. You will be given specific instructions on the best way to care for your nose whilst it heals, and you can expect to need to take at least a fortnight off of work to recover. You will also need to avoid anyone who has a cold and minimize your time in public areas to reduce your risk of catching a cold – something which could put you at risk of infection.

If you would like to learn more about septoplasty, our cosmetic surgery specialists would be happy to answer your questions. Please get in touch to speak to us or to schedule a consultation.