Purpose of Septoplasty

Breathing troubles lead to outpatient surgery

In This Article

If your septum—the bone and cartilage that run along the ridge of your nose and separate your nostrils—becomes crooked or damaged, you may have a condition called a deviated septum. This problem isn’t always serious, but it if makes it difficult to breathe or causes other major issues, you may need a surgery called a septoplasty to fix it.

Septoplasty can repair a deviated septum and relieve breathing problems
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Diagnosis Related to Septoplasty

Septoplasty is an outpatient surgery that is usually performed when you have been diagnosed with a deviated septum. A crooked, or deviated, septum is fairly common. About 80% of people have a septum that is at least slightly off-center—and we don’t even notice it.

In some cases, though, the septum is so crooked or damaged that it can block one side of your nose, reduce airflow, and cause difficulty breathing. Even when it doesn’t cause breathing problems, a severely deviated septum can affect your quality of life, and you may want to have it repaired.

The following are a list of symptoms you might experience with a deviated septum.

  • One or both nostrils blocked
  • Nasal congestion
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Face pain
  • Headaches
  • Snoring, or loud sleep in children and infants

The septum itself is made of cartilage and bone and measures about 3 inches in length. It separates the two sides of the nose, and can become bent or crooked by nature or injury.

Sometimes, people don’t even realize they have a deviated septum until a doctor sees the deviation during a physical examination. When the deviation is so severe that it causes problems, you or your doctor may suggest fixing it through a surgery called a septoplasty.

A septoplasty may also be done as part of other procedures, like sinus surgery, the removal of nasal tumors, or septorhinoplasty—a cosmetic procedure to reshape the nose.

Criteria

Before planning for this outpatient surgery, your doctor will want to confirm your diagnosis to be sure you don’t have any other form of nasal blockage, such as allergies, nasal polyps, or enlarged turbinates.

Tests and Labs

If you and your doctor have made the decision that septoplasty is right for you, your doctor will want to confirm your diagnosis of a deviated septum, and will usually examine the inside of your nose. This can be done with a nasal endoscopy, which uses a small tube with a camera on the end to help the doctor see the inside of your nose.

This is just one of the ways your doctor may want to examine you before scheduling surgery. The following is a list of tests or procedures you may have done in preparation for a septoplasty:

  • Medical history: Your medical history can provide your doctor will clue about your health, your surgical risks, recovery, and outcome.
  • Physical examination: Your doctor will want to examine your nose for a deviated septum, and make sure there are no other medical issues that may make your septoplasty unsafe.
  • Nasal endoscopy: This procedure allows your doctor to see inside your nose through a small tube with a camera at the end.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: This test will give your doctor an image of the structure within your nose.
  • Blood work: Your doctor will probably order some lab testing before your surgery. These tests—like a complete blood count (CBC) and basic metabolic panel—will help alert your doctor to any medical conditions or concerns that could impact the safety or outcome of your surgery.

A Word From Verywell

A septoplasty is a procedure that trims, repositions, or replaces a crooked or damaged septum. The septum is made of bone and cartilage, and can cause breathing problems if it is too far displaced.

Discuss what problems you are having with a doctor, and consider all the risks of the procedure. Septoplasty is usually done as an outpatient procedure and you can go home the same day.

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Article Sources
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  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Deviated septum. Updated May 2019.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Septoplasty. Updated Nov. 20, 2018.