Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
What is septoplasty surgery?
Septoplasty is a surgical method that is needed to correct the deviated septum. But to decide whether the surgery is needed or not, it is necessary to understand what the septum is and what follows if it becomes deviated?
What is a septum?
A septum is a thin wall made up of partly bone and partly cartilage that divides the nose into two separate nostrils and eases the process of breathing. When the septum deviates, the breathing mechanism is impeded, which may necessitate septoplasty surgery to correct.
A septum is considered deviated when it is not straight but bent towards either side of the nostrils. A deviated septum can be a congenital abnormality, or it can be caused by an injury to the nose. In most cases, people who have a deviated septum frequently experience breathing difficulties because one or both nostrils are blocked.
Diagnosis of a deviated septum
The deviated septum is diagnosed by nasal endoscopy or a computerized tomography scan (CT scan).
- Nasal endoscopy: Nasal endoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor inserts a small tube with a tiny light and camera mounted over the top of the tube (endoscope). The light and camera allow the doctor to acquire a good view of the deviated septum, which eases in the surgical procedure.
- CT Scan: A CT scan can also be conducted to determine the condition of the septum, but it is usually not necessary to undergo a CT scan for the diagnosis unless absolutely required.
Why is septoplasty required?
A septoplasty is the only treatment that can repair a deviated septum that makes breathing difficult and requires breathing via the mouth, which can lead to a variety of different illnesses in the body owing to germs entering the mouth. Breathing via the mouth is dangerous because, unlike the nose, there is no hair in the mouth to filter the air. Septoplasty can also be administered during the treatment of sinusitis.
A septoplasty operation alone will not modify the shape of the nose, necessitating a nose straightening procedure known as septorhinoplasty, where the rhino is a denotation for the nose. However, whether or not a septorhinoplasty is performed is entirely up to the patient.
How should you prepare for a septoplasty?
Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and certain herbal supplements are examples of medications that the doctor may advise the patient to stop using at least two weeks before surgery. The patient should tell the doctor everything about his or her medical history and current medications (if any). To decrease the risk of bleeding, the doctor may also advise against taking any blood thinners. The doctor should also be aware of the patient’s allergies and whether or not the patient has had any previous operations.
Most people prefer to take general anesthesia before undergoing septoplasty surgery. If opting for general anesthesia, the patient should not eat or drink anything from the night before the surgery, as this reduces the risk of vomiting and choking. The patient will be unconscious during the procedure if general anesthesia is used. However, in some cases, people may also opt for local anesthesia. This only makes a particular area numb and prevents pain during the surgery.
Septoplasty is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that patients can return home the same day. It is recommended that the patient be accompanied by a family member or friend after the surgery because the side effects of anesthesia can make the patient dizzy.
The operation might take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to complete. The patient is sedated with either general or local anesthesia, but it depends upon the recommendation of the surgeon to decide what should be the better option.
After administering the anesthesia, the doctor will make an incision on the wall of one side of the nose and lift the mucous membrane (a protective layer of the septum). Once the membrane is removed, the doctor will have access to the septum for reshaping the septum and removing the barrier causing breathing issues. In some cases, a small amount of bone cartilage is also removed from the septum to realign it.
After that, sutures are used to keep the septum in place while the mucous membrane is put back in place. A soft packing will be used by the doctor to keep the nasal tissue in place and avoid a nosebleed. The packing can be removed within 24 to 36 hours of surgery, but the sutures may need to be left in place for one or two weeks.
Risks involved in septoplasty:
Some of the risks involved in this surgery are:
- Nose bleed
- Long-lasting scars
- Changed nose shape
- Decreased sense of smell
- Discoloration of nose
- Hole in the septum
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