Understanding Septoplasty Surgery: Procedure, Risks, and Benefits

Understanding Septoplasty Surgery

Introduction: What is Septoplasty Surgery?

A deviated septum—the bone and cartilage that divides the nostrils—can be corrected surgically with a septoplasty. A deviated septum can impede airflow, which can cause chronic sinus infections, snoring, and breathing problems. During septoplasty, the surgeon reshapes or removes the misaligned bone or cartilage, allowing improved airflow through the nose. This procedure is often performed under local or general anaesthesia and typically takes about an hour. Recovery time varies but usually involves mild discomfort, swelling, and nasal packing for a few days.

Precisely, the answer to what is septoplasty, is a procedure that significantly enhances breathing and alleviates related symptoms, enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals with a deviated septum.

What Will Happen During a Septoplasty Procedure?

During a septoplasty procedure, a surgeon corrects a deviated septum, the cartilage and bone that divide the nasal cavity. Either local or general anaesthesia is used, and the procedure usually takes one to two hours. By making an incision and removing the mucous membrane covering the septum, the surgeon can reach the septum through the nostrils. To improve airflow, they then straighten the septum by reshaping or excising the deviated portions. Ultimately, the membrane is moved back into place, and the septum may be supported during its healing process by packing or dissolvent stitches.

Patients may have swelling, pain, and nasal congestion for a few weeks following surgery, though recovery times vary. Septoplasty aims to alleviate breathing problems caused by a deviated septum, enhancing nasal function and potentially reducing related issues like snoring or sleep apnea.

Risks of Septoplasty Surgery

Although the septoplasty procedure is generally regarded as safe, there are always possible risks and complications. These could consist of:

  1. Bleeding: Excessive bleeding during or after surgery is a common risk of septoplasty, necessitating further medical attention.
  2. Infection: Although uncommon, there is a risk of developing an infection at the surgical site.
  3. Nasal blockage: In some cases, the septum may become deviated again, leading to recurring nasal obstruction.
  4. Perforation: A hole in the septum may form due to surgical trauma, causing whistling sounds during breathing and other complications.
  5. Changes in sense of smell or taste: Rarely, alterations in smell or taste perception might occur post-surgery.
  6. Scarring: Internal or external scarring may affect the cosmetic appearance or airflow through the nose.
  7. Anaesthesia risks: Potential reactions or complications due to anaesthesia used during the surgery.

It's crucial to discuss these risks with a qualified surgeon before opting for septoplasty and follow post-operative instructions to minimise complications.

Benefits of Septoplasty Surgery

Septoplasty surgery is a medical procedure performed to correct a deviated septum, the thin wall of cartilage and bone between the nostrils. Here are the benefits of septoplasty:

  • Improved Breathing: Septoplasty aims to straighten the septum, allowing for better airflow through the nasal passages. This can alleviate breathing difficulties caused by a deviated septum, such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Decreased Nasal Congestion: Septoplasty, which realigns the septum, can ease persistent nasal congestion and facilitate breathing through the nose.
  • Improved Quality of Life: Patients' quality of life is often improved by better nasal breathing because it frequently results in less fatigue, better sleep, and an overall increase in well-being.
  • Potential Health Benefits: By lowering the incidence of sinus infections, nosebleeds, and other nasal ailments, improved nasal airflow can improve overall nasal health and lessen the need for medication.
  • Correcting Structural Issues: Septoplasty can also address structural issues within the nose, improving symmetry and aesthetics.

When a person has a deviated septum, they can experience significant relief from nasal obstruction. Septoplasty is generally regarded as safe and effective in this regard. But before having surgery, it's important to talk about any possible risks and complications with a trained healthcare provider because these are a part of every surgical procedure.

Recovery Time After Septoplasty

A deviated septum can be surgically corrected with a septoplasty, usually to improve breathing. Although septoplasty recovery times vary, most people can anticipate feeling better after just one to two weeks. Immediately after surgery, there might be swelling, discomfort, and mild pain, usually managed with prescribed pain medication. Nasal packing, if used, is often removed within a few days, improving comfort.

Physical activity may be limited for a week or more to prevent any strain on the healing tissues. It's common to experience congestion, slight bleeding, or nasal stuffiness for several weeks post-surgery. The full benefits, including improved breathing, might take a few months to manifest fully as the swelling subsides and the nasal passages heal.

Follow-up appointments with the surgeon are crucial to monitor healing progress. Adhering to post-operative care instructions, including nasal irrigation and avoiding strenuous activities, greatly aids in a smooth recovery. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalised recovery guidance.

Who Needs a Septoplasty?

A septoplasty is a surgical procedure aimed at correcting a deviated septum, the cartilage, and the bone that divides the nasal cavity into two nostrils. It's typically recommended for individuals experiencing significant breathing difficulties or other issues due to a deviated septum. Individuals who may benefit from a septoplasty frequently have symptoms like persistent nasal congestion, sinus infections, breathing difficulties through the nose, snoring, sleep apnea, or nosebleeds from a deviated septum. The issues mentioned can significantly influence an individual's well-being, potentially affecting their comfort, physical activity, and sleep routines.

Before suggesting surgery, an otolaryngologist evaluates the patient's symptoms and the extent of the deviation. Initially, non-invasive treatments such as nasal decongestants, steroids, or alternative medications might be recommended. If these methods fail to yield results, a septoplasty might be proposed to rectify the underlying structural issue and relieve the related symptoms.


Septoplasty surgery aims to correct a deviated septum, improving breathing and alleviating related issues. During the procedure, the surgeon adjusts or removes parts of the septum to straighten it, often performed under local or general anaesthesia. Risks include bleeding, infection, or septal perforation, but these are rare. Benefits are substantial, such as better airflow, reduced snoring, and improved quality of life. Recovery typically involves minimal discomfort, and most individuals resume regular activities within a week.

Septoplasty can be a transformative solution for those experiencing breathing difficulties due to a deviated septum, offering lasting relief and improved nasal function. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional for personalised advice.