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Deviated Septum Surgery: Surgery and Recovery

written by: Pam Tews • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 3/30/2010

Deviated septum surgery may need to be peformed if the nasal is obstructed causing one side to be larger than the other. This article will explain deviated septum symptoms. Learn about the deviated septum surgery procedure and the recovery after the deviated septum surgery has been performed.

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    The nasal septum is the wall between the right and left sides of the nose. When a person has a devaited septum, one side of the nose is wider than the other causing the opposite side to be more narrow. This alters the airflow in the nose and sometimes blocks the narrowed side. In some cases the sinus openings can be blocked causing sinus infections, sinusitis, that either last a long time or keep returning. The altered airflow can also cause the skin of the nasal septum to become dry and cracked leading to frequent nosebleeds.

    Medication can be taken to straigthen a devatied septum. If the septum is causing nasal onstruction, devatied septum surgery may need to be performed.

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    Deviated Septum Symptoms

    A person with a deviated septum can be born with the defect or it can be caused by an injury later in life. If it the deviated septum is caused by an injury, it is usually a blow to one side of the nose. A person will experience signs and symptoms of a deviated symptoms including:

    • Blockage of one or both nostrils
    • Frequent sinus infections
    • Facial pain, postnasal drip, and reoccurring headaches
    • Frequent nosebleeds
    • Nasal congestion
    • Noisy breathing during sleep (mostly in infants and children)
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    Deviated Septum

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    Deviated Septum Surgery

    The surgery for a deviated septum is called a septoplasty. A septoplasty is performed through a small incision made on the inside of the nose. There is no need for external incisions. The lining of the septum (mucous membranes) are lifted off the cartilage and bone. The cartilage and bone are then sculpted, repositioned, and in some cases, removed so that the desired straightening of the septum can be achieved. The mucous membrane is then sewn back together with absorbable sutures. These sutures will dissolve on their own, no need for stitch removal.

    The surgery is performed under sedation anesthesia or general anesthesia. The deviated septum surgery typically lasts between 30 to 45 minutes.

    The surgeon may place a small nasal packing that can be removed the day after surgery. The packing is used to apply light pressure on the septum to help with healing by preventing excessive swelling or bleeding. Patients usually do not find the packing or removal of the packing uncomfortable or painful.

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    Deviated Septum Recovery

    The recovery from a deviated septum (septoplasty) is usually immediate. Patients usually experience very little discomfort or pain. The surgeon may leave internal splints sutured along the septum to hold it straight during the healing process. Splints discourage adhesions or scarring between the septum and sidewalls of the nose, that can occur after surgery. Adhesions can cause persistent nasal obstruction.

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    References

    Mayo Clinic: Deviated Septum - www.mayoclinic.com/health/deviated-septum/DS00977

    University of Alabama at Birmingham Medicine: Deviated Septum Surgery - http://www.health.uab.edu/14431/