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A septoplasty is a surgical ENT procedure to straighten your septum; the wall (cartilage at the front, and bone further back) which divides your nose into left and right sides.
It can be carried out in combination with rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery) if this is required to optimise the nasal passage and improve breathing (septorhinoplasty) but it's usually performed alone.
The nasal septum is a wall that separates the nasal passages, made of cartilage and connective tissue. A deviated septum, also known as a nasal septum deviation, is a relatively common abnormality of the nose where one side of your nasal passage is smaller than the other.
You can be born with a deviated septum, it can develop as you grow or can be caused by an injury - such as a blow to the nose - or a haematoma (bleeding outside of your blood vessels).
Deviated septum symptoms include:
Your GP may examine your nose following discussion of your symptoms.
They’ll use a bright light and a nasal speculum to spread open your nostrils for closer examination. A long tube-shaped scope with a bright light at the tip may also be used to check further back in your nose.
The symptoms of a deviated septum can sometimes be controlled with medications (e.g. decongestants, antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays) but these don’t address the underlying cause of the condition.
If these symptoms are severe and your GP diagnosis a deviated septum, they may refer you to an ENT Consultant at Benenden Hospital for a consultation around your suitability for a septoplasty.
Septoplasty nose surgery is carried out to straighten a deviated septum, or if one of your nasal passages is smaller than the other.
The exact type of operation you’ll have will depend on your condition. Your Consultant will discuss this with you in detail before the surgery.
The septoplasty will be carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be asleep. Your Consultant will be able to reposition your septum by operating only on the inside of your nose. This means they won’t need to make cuts on the outside, so any scars won’t be visible.
The operation should last around an hour, depending on how complicated the procedure is. Because you'll need to have a general anaesthetic, your Consultant will tell you how long you should avoid eating and drinking beforehand. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital.
You may be able to go home on the same day as your operation. We’ll arrange any follow-up appointments with you before you leave hospital.
Your nose will feel blocked for a few weeks and to prevent any bleeding you shouldn’t take part in any strenuous activity and avoid blowing your nose for the first two weeks. Most people recover very well after a septoplasty, but it may take up to three months for the full benefits to be felt.