Septoplasty is performed in order to straighten out the nasal septum. The nasal septum is a wall that is found between the nose’s two nasal passages. The nasal septum helps air flow through the nose.  It also acts as a structural support. It is composed of both cartilage and bone. When the nasal septum bone or cartilage is not straight, it is considered to be “deviated”. The septoplasty straightens it out in order to facilitate the breathing process and eliminate sleep apnea and snoring.

Septums typically bend due to growth, puberty, deviation at birth and various injuries. While hardly anyone has a completely straight septum, it can become a problem if it is bent too much. Before jumping into a septoplasty operation, a doctor will take a look at the patient’s nasal passages with an endoscope. This gives him insight as to the shape of the patient’s septum. The actual operation takes between an hour and two hours and is typically performed at an outpatient surgery center. Patients are given local or general anesthetics to ease any pains that might be experienced during the septoplasty. A local anesthetic will be injected into the nasal tissues. Sedation is applied with an injection by way of a catheter that is put into a vein. General anesthetics are applied through an IV line.

During the operation, the surgeon corrects the septum by working through the patient’s nostrils. He cuts to separate the mucosa from the bone and cartilage beneath it. The incision is closed by way of an absorbable thread. Sometimes doctors use splints in the nostrils to provide support for the septum. The surgeon straightens out the cartilage or bone (or both of them) that has been bent or even cuts it so that it becomes straight. The surgeon then puts the mucosa back in place over the bone and cartilage.

The benefits of a septoplasty certainly outweigh the risks. A septoplasty will assist with breathing so that the patient can sleep normally, exercise without a problem and live life without worrying about being able to breathe. Possible side effects of the operation include a change in the nose’s shape, a minor reduction in smelling abilities, an opening of the septum, bleeding and a short lived numbing towards the upper teeth and gums. If any of these complications occur, more surgery may be required.

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