What is a Septoplasty?

A septoplasty is a surgical procedure done to fix a deviated septum. This occurs when the cartilage that separates your nostrils becomes out of position which can lead to breathing problems, pain, snoring, and frequent nosebleeds. The primary goal of a septoplasty is to realign your septum in order to improve airflow through your nose. This may also reduce other symptoms associated with a deviated septum such as post-nasal drip, sinus pressure, impaired sense of smell, and excessive snoring.

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What is Turbinate Reduction?

Turbinate reduction surgery, or turbinoplasty, is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the turbinates in your nose. Turbinates are structures in the nose that affect nasal breathing. There are three turbinates (inferior, middle, and superior) on each side of the nose. They clean and humidify the air taken up through the nose so that cold, dry air does not reach the lungs. This also allows more airflow and increases air-filtering functions. Nasal congestion is the most common symptom accompanying turbinate dysfunction. Enlarged and swollen turbinates can lead to blockages and decreased nasal breathing.

Who is a good candidate?

  • Trouble breathing through nose
  • Constant clearing of the throat
  • Crooked nose
  • Trouble sleeping through the night
  • Decreased sense of smell and taste
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Excessive snoring
  • Nonsmokers (no active smoking for 4 weeks prior to surgery or after surgery)
  • Reasonable expectations

About Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction

Some people are born with a deviated septum, but most occur through injury or trauma to your nose. Septoplasty is performed to relieve nasal obstruction. Difficulty breathing, facial pain, headaches, and postnasal drip can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life. Surgery is the only way to fix a deviated septum.

To maximize the improvement in nasal breathing, a septoplasty along with a turbinate reduction are typically addressed at the same time. This can be done by removing a small portion of the turbinates, or shrinking them using cautery.

Turbinate Reduction procedures target the turbinates found within the sidewalls of the nasal cavities. There are three types of turbinate surgeries including Turbinectomy, Turbinoplasty, and Radiofrequency or laser ablation. A turbinectomy is where either a part or all of the lower turbinate is removed. Turbinoplasty is when the turbinate is reduced by removing a small amount of tissue and either reshaping or repositioning the turbinate. Laser ablation is where a laser light is used to shrink turbinate tissue. All three types of approaches have the common goal of shrinking or removing a portion of the turbinate.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should surgery be considered?

Chronic nasal stuffiness can be related to structural abnormalities inside the nose or swelling from allergies. A deviated septum or overgrowth of the turbinates are common causes of nasal obstruction and stuffiness. Surgery should be considered when these problems are affecting daily living. If you are experiencing trouble breathing through your nose on a daily basis, or experience trouble sleeping each night, surgery is recommended in order to improve your daily lifestyle.

What does a Septoplasty procedure typically entail?

A septoplasty usually only takes between 1-2 hours depending on the complexity of the condition present. Dr. Sufyan is able to use a minimally invasive approach called endonasal septoplasty. The endoscopic approach is safe, effective, and ultraconservative. This innovative surgical approach cuts recovery time and healing drastically. Limited resection results in reduced immediate and future postoperative pain and swelling. This is the primary advantage to an endoscopic approach.

Can aging cause nasal obstruction?

Unfortunately, aging is a common culprit of nasal obstruction. With aging, the physiology and function of the nose tend to change. This is because the supporting cartilage in the nose and its tip are weakened with age. This weakening in the cartilage and skin, along with gravity, causes a drooping to occur. If the sides of the nose collapse inward, this can impede air flow

What are the potential risks associated with a Septoplasty?

Risks with a septoplasty are rare, but they can include bleeding, scarring, altered nose shape, decreased sense of smell, or perforated septum. Excessive bleeding and infection are possible risks associated with any surgery however, keeping your nose clean and washing your hands frequently can drastically reduce these risks.

What can I do to help my healing following surgery?

Applying ice, keeping your head elevated and avoiding pressure on your face are all important things to remember after your Septoplasty. Both icing and keeping your head elevated will help decrease the swelling and pain. Dr. Sufyan recommends to sneeze with your mouth open if possible and avoid blowing your nose. The pressure from a sneeze or blowing your nose can damage the nose and impair proper healing.

What are possible methods for Turbinate Reduction?

Although cautery is the most common approach for turbinate reduction treatment, there are several other options. Coblation, radiofrequency reduction, and partial resection are other treatment options when turbinate reduction is necessary.

What should I expect after my Septoplasty?

Mild pain, fatigue, congestion, headache, and some nasal drainage are all common after a septoplasty. The pain following this surgery is usually mild and can be controlled with prescription pain medication if necessary. The stuffiness felt is a result of the swelling from the surgery, this typically improves after the first week. 2-3 weeks following surgery nasal breathing should be noticeably improving along with a decrease in swelling, however allow 4-5 weeks for internal nasal and sinus swelling to return to normal.

How long will I be out of work following Septoplasty?

Rest and relaxation are strongly advised during the first week following surgery in order to help speed up recovery and minimize bruising and swelling. Patients with sedentary jobs may safely return back to work 1-2 weeks following surgery. However, those whose jobs require physical exertion may need an additional week or two before returning to work.

In every case, it is recommended to avoid unnecessary exertion for at least one month after surgery to avoid prolonged swelling.

Will over the counter (OTC) oral decongestants help with my enlarged or swollen turbinates?

Over-the-counter decongestants show inadequate success in treating swollen turbinates. The key to successful managing turbinate problems is to first identify the underlying source and then correctly treat.

Does a Septoplasty or Turbinate Reduction require an overnight hospital stay?

Rarely. These procedure can be performed in the hospital or in an outpatient surgical center. You will most likely be able to go home a few hours after your surgery.

Are there any medications that need to be avoided before surgery?

Dr. Sufyan asks that you avoid blood thinners and NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aleve, Advil, etc. at least one week prior to surgery. This is because these medications may have an effect on your blood’s ability to coagulate (clot) resulting is increased bruising. For your safety it is recommended to avoid herbal medicine and supplements one week before treatment. We also ask to avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to surgery since alcohol thins the blood and increases the chance of bruising.

When will I be able to see results?

Results will be visible after the swelling and bruising have subsided. Because all individuals are unique, this time period varies. Most improve within one to two weeks.

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