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Septoplasty

Not all nose surgery is done solely for cosmetic purposes. When the nose doesn’t work as it should, a procedure may also be recommended to correct the internal structure to ensure easier breathing and better function. In some cases, the same process that enhances the function of the nose will also improve its appearance. Because Dr. Maas has extensive experience in nasal anatomy, function and aesthetics, he is qualified to perform surgery both for form and function. In some cases, the two goals can be achieved in a single operation when executed by a facial plastic surgeon like Dr. Maas, saving you time and ensuring a more comfortable process overall with just one recovery period.

What is the Septum?

The septum, comprised of a combination of cartilage and bone, is the division between the two nasal passages. In addition to creating the separate nasal passages, the septum also determines the profile of the nose to some extent. If the septum is twisted or crooked, a condition known as a deviated septum, it can affect how your nose looks as well as how it functions.

Deviations to the septum can be present at birth or develop after an injury or trauma to the nose. If you have a deviated septum, you might also experience symptoms like snoring, difficulty breathing or persistent congestion. However, many patients with a deviated septum do not have any telltale signs and may not realize their septum is misaligned until they have an examination of the nasal cavity.

Explaining Septoplasty

Septoplasty is surgery that focuses on straightening or correcting a deviated septum. The procedure may involve a variety of techniques depending on the amount of correction required. In some cases, portions of the septum are cut or removed so they can be repositioned into proper alignment. Surgery is the only way to provide permanent relief from symptoms caused by a deviated septum. In some cases, this procedure may be combined with rhinoplasty, or cosmetic nose reshaping surgery, to enhance the nose inside and out.

Who Should Consider Septoplasty?

Candidates for septoplasty are men and women in good general health who have a deviated septum that is affecting the function of the nose. Patients that pursue surgery usually experience one or more of the following:

  • Excessive snoring at night that disrupts sleep
  • Difficulty breathing through one side of the nose
  • Persistent nasal congestion or bleeding
  • Chronic headaches due to congestion
  • A desire to stop treating symptoms with medications

Individuals undergoing septoplasty should be nonsmokers or willing to stop smoking for at least three weeks before and after surgery to avoid nicotine-related complications. Dr. Maas will discuss your medical history, symptoms and general health to determine whether septoplasty is a safe procedure for you.

Choosing a Surgeon for Your Septoplasty

Many individuals consider an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) for their septoplasty. While these specialists have extensive experience in the anatomy of the nasal structure, they may not have sufficient training to ensure the best cosmetic result after surgery. When you choose a board-certified plastic surgeon for your septoplasty, you can rest assured both form and function will be addressed during your operation. Your surgeon will also be able to correct cosmetic issues at the same time as your septoplasty if you choose, giving you overall improvement with just one time under anesthesia and one recovery process.

Combining Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

When your concerns expand beyond the function of the nose to its appearance, you might have a dual aim in pursuing nasal surgery. For example, you may want to correct the size or shape of the nasal tip at the same time you straighten the septum. Dr. Maas often combines septoplasty and rhinoplasty in a single procedure for his patients, allowing them to achieve their goals and save some time and money at the same time. Advantages to performing both treatments during the same operation include:

  • One time under anesthesia reduces related risks
  • A single recovery period means less time off work
  • Ability to achieve all goals at once
  • Cost effective, since insurance may cover the septoplasty portion
  • Ability to work with one specialist for both concerns

When you schedule your consultation with Dr. Maas, he will discuss all your concerns to determine the right surgical plan for you. In most cases, a single operation will be able to meet your goals.

Procedure Overview

Dr. Maas performs septoplasty as an outpatient procedure right in his clinic and typically under minimal anesthesia. Incisions are usually placed inside the nose, although a single small incision may also be created on the tissue dividing the nostrils at the base. This approach ensures that your visible scarring after surgery will be minimal, if at all. Through the incisions, Dr. Maas can access the septum to create the necessary correction. If other concerns are to be addressed during the procedure, he will handle that as well.

Most septoplasty procedures take one to three hours to complete, depending on how much correction is required. Incisions are sutured closed carefully to produce the best cosmetic result afterward. A splint or pack may be placed to hold the nose in shape and protect it from bumps during the healing process. Dr. Maas will provide you with instructions on how to care for your nose as you recover to ensure the best possible outcome.

After Your Septoplasty

Bruising and swelling are common after septoplasty. Dr. Maas will prescribe pain medication and instruct you on the use of ice packs to minimize these side effects. Recovery from this procedure generally takes seven to 10 days. Some patients wait two weeks to return to their regular activities so that visible evidence of the surgery has mostly subsided and can be safely camouflaged under makeup. The benefits of septoplasty last a lifetime, improving nasal function and your appearance when the deviated septum impacted the look of the nose.

Septoplasty is one of the surgeries Dr. Maas performs to enhance the form and function of the nose. To learn more about this procedure, contact The Maas Clinic today at (415) 567-7000 or contact us by email.

The information about septoplasty was reviewed by Dr. Corey Maas. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form on the sidebar.

It is never too late, To be what you might have been.- George Eliot