The septum is the cartilage and bone inside the nose that divides the nostrils. The septum is usually straight but it can be deviated (bent), causing symptoms of a blocked nose (see figure 1). A septoplasty and a submucous resection are operations to correct a deviated nasal septum.
What are the benefits of surgery?
Your septum will be straight which should relieve your symptoms of a blocked nose.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Surgery is recommended as it is the only dependable way to cure the condition. The condition will not go away without an operation.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is performed through your nostrils and does not result in any facial scars or black eyes.
A septoplasty and submucous resection are usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes about three-quarters of an hour. Your surgeon will make a cut in the lining of the nose. They will remove the parts of the cartilage and bone that are bent and put the rest back in a straight position.
What complications can happen?
1. General complications of any operation
Infection in the surgical wound
2. Specific complications of this operation
Developing a haematoma or abscess
Injury to nerves
Change to the shape of the nose
Making a hole in the septum
How soon will I recover?
You will usually be kept in hospital overnight although occasionally you will be able to go home the same day. If you had some packing in your nose, it will be removed on the morning after your operation.
You will need to stay off work and away from groups of people for two weeks after the operation. This is to avoid catching a cold, which could result in an infection.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities. Occasionally the deviation comes back because the cartilage can gradually return to its original position.
Surgery will result in you having a straight septum which should relieve your symptoms of a blocked nose. However, no serious complications can happen if a deviated septum is left untreated.
Paying for your operation
Septoplasty and submucous resection costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.