Septorhinoplasty is the combination of two procedures into one operation; septoplasty (to correct a deviated septum) and rhinoplasty (to change the shape or size of the nose (also called nose reshaping or a 'nose job')). A rhinoplasty itself is not usually available on the NHS if it’s done purely for cosmetic reasons, but it may be if it's needed to help your breathing.
During a septorhinoplasty your surgeon will remove any obstructions that may cause breathing problems and the appearance of your nose will also be enhanced. The nose may be obstructed by a deviated septum which has suffered injury or if one side of your nasal passage is smaller than the other. A deviated septum can cause a blockage in the nose leading to breathing difficulties, chronic sinus infections, stagnating mucus, inflammation and irritation.
The appearance of the nose can be changed at the same time to achieve a number of aims:
- nose reduction (to make the nose smaller by removing some cartilage and/or bone)
- nose augmentation (to make the nose larger by using a graft of the patient’s own cartilage (from the ear) and/or bone (from hips, skull or elbow))
- reshaping (to change the shape of the nose and the nostrils)
- change the angle between the top lip and the nose
The exact type of procedure you have will depend on your specific condition; your surgeon will discuss this with you in detail before the operation.
The septoplasty or septorhinoplasty will be carried out under general anaesthetic usually as a day case so you’ll be asleep during the operation. Your surgeon may be able to perform the operation without making cuts on the outside of the nose, which will reduce swelling and leave no visible scars.
Following your septorhinoplasty bruising is normal.
You may have stitches in the nostril which are usually dissolved and you’ll probably leave hospital with a dressing on your nose. We’ll explain what you need to do with these dressings and whether you need any follow-up appointments.
You’ll probably need to take a couple of weeks off work and you may not see the full benefit of the operation for six to twelve months by which time the swelling should have completely gone.
In addition to the normal risks of undertaking surgery under a general anaesthetic, septorhinoplasty carries a very small risk of:
- bleeding a small amount is normal
- causing permanent breathing difficulty
- damaging or perforating the nasal septum (septal perforation)
- changing your sense of smell
- not achieving the results the patient was expecting
- injuring nerves, with numbing of the nose and rarely the incisor teeth