Comprehensive Guide to Septoplasty Surgery: A Step-By-Step Walkthrough


What Is Septoplasty?

The septum, composed of bone and cartilage, serves as the partition between your nostrils. A deviated septum manifests when this structure is displaced to one side of the nose.

While some individuals are born with a deviated septum, it can also result from nose injuries. In cases of a deviated septum, one nasal passage is often significantly smaller than the other, leading to breathing difficulties. Additional symptoms may include recurring nosebleeds and facial pain. Surgical intervention is the sole effective method for rectifying a deviated septum.

Septoplasty, a surgical procedure designed to address a deviated septum, focuses on straightening this structural component to enhance airflow through the nasal passages. This corrective surgery is essential for individuals experiencing the challenges posed by a deviated septum, providing a lasting solution to improve respiratory function.

Reasons Why You Might Need a Septoplasty

The primary cause behind undergoing a septoplasty is to rectify a deviated septum, which hinders nasal passages and disrupts normal airflow.

A septum becomes deviated when it bends significantly in one direction, causing it to become misaligned. This misalignment can result in breathing difficulties.

In certain instances, septoplasty becomes a necessity along with other procedures like sinus surgery or tumour removal. Additionally, healthcare professionals may recommend septoplasty when non-surgical interventions fail to address issues related to obstructive sleep apnea or snoring effectively.

For some individuals, enlarged turbinates contribute to breathing challenges. Surgical intervention targeting the turbinates may offer a viable solution to improve respiratory function.

Why Do You Need Septoplasty Surgery?

A twisted septum is normal. Severe deviated septums, however, can obstruct one side of the nose and decrease airflow, making it difficult to breathe through one or both sides of the nose. The decision to undergo surgery is often driven by the desire to alleviate symptoms associated with a deviated septum. Individuals may experience chronic nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, recurring sinus infections, and even sleep disturbances.  

Surgery involves cutting, moving, and restoring bone, cartilage, or both to straighten the nasal septum. You might think about having surgery to correct a deviated septum if you have symptoms that negatively impact your quality of life, such as trouble breathing through your nose. The septoplasty procedure aims to correct these issues, providing relief and improving overall respiratory function.

Septoplasty: Step-By-Step Surgical Procedure

A septoplasty procedure involves several meticulous steps:


To ensure your comfort during the deviated nasal septum surgery process, medications are administered. Your options include intravenous sedation or general anaesthesia, with your doctor guiding you toward the most suitable choice.

The Incision:

If septoplasty surgery is conducted independently, incisions are typically made within the nasal cavity. In more complex cases or when performed alongside rhinoplasties, a small incision might be made across the columella, the narrow tissue strip separating the nostrils.

Mucosal Lining Separation:

The delicate nasal mucosal lining covering the septum's surface is gently lifted away on one side. This step is crucial but requires precision, as the fragile lining may tear or create a hole as it's separated from the septum. Simultaneously, the mucosal lining on the opposite side undergoes the same careful separation.

Deviated Septum Correction:

The deviated nasal septum surgery addresses both bone and cartilage, skillfully removing the deviation while leaving the specialised mucosal lining intact.

Closing the Incision:

Once the septum is correctly positioned and straightened, the nasal mucosal lining is repositioned around it and meticulously sutured back together.

Observing the Results:

To stabilize the newly reconstructed septum, splints or packing may be employed, typically removed shortly after the septoplasty procedure steps. Internal sutures utilized during the procedure naturally dissolve over time.

This intricate sequence of steps in the procedure ensures not only the correction of a deviated nasal septum but also the preservation of the delicate nasal mucosal lining, contributing to a smoother recovery process.

The Recovery Process

Understanding the recovery process is vital for individuals considering septoplasty surgery. While recovery experiences may vary, most patients can expect some swelling and discomfort in the days following the procedure.  

Septoplasty is typically conducted as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to return home on the same day once the effects of anaesthesia have subsided. Following the procedure, your nose may experience swelling and discomfort, and it will be packed with cotton to manage any potential bleeding. The packing is usually removed within a day or two post-surgery. Additionally, your physician will prescribe pain medication as necessary.

As a precautionary measure, your doctor will advise against the use of blood-thinning medications like aspirin and ibuprofen to minimise the risk of post-procedural bleeding complications.

In the postoperative period, it's recommended to curtail physical activities for several weeks to reduce swelling and facilitate the healing process. This involves refraining from vigorous exercises such as running and weightlifting and engaging in contact sports. These activities have the potential to elevate blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of significant bleeding.

Tips for expediting your recovery include:

  • raising your head during nighttime hours to minimise swelling
  • abstaining from blowing your nose for a minimum of three days post-surgery
  • opting for front-buttoned shirts to avoid pulling clothing over your head

Full recovery from the procedure may take several weeks, during which patients gradually notice improvements in breathing and a reduction in preoperative symptoms. Regular follow-up appointments with the surgeon are crucial for monitoring progress and addressing any concerns.


In conclusion, septoplasty is a surgical intervention that can significantly enhance the quality of life for individuals dealing with a deviated nasal septum. The procedure involves cutting, moving, and restoring bone or cartilage to straighten the nasal septum. Septoplasty helps with symptoms like breathing problems brought on by a deviated septum in most cases. Each person will respond differently to septoplasty in terms of improvement.

It is empowering for people to make decisions about their health when they are aware of the operation, its underlying causes, and the anticipated recovery period. Following a septoplasty procedure, you can breathe easier and enjoy a more pleasant and meaningful life by prioritising your respiratory health and taking proactive actions toward correction.

If persistent nasal congestion, breathing difficulties, or related symptoms trouble you, seeking advice from an experienced ear, nose, and throat specialist can offer valuable insights on whether septoplasty is the suitable solution for your needs.