Septoplasty (deviated septum)

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 > Septoplasty (deviated septum)

What is a deviated nasal septum?

The septum is the cartilage and bone inside your nose that separates your nostrils. The septum is usually straight but it can be deviated (bent), causing symptoms of a blocked nose.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your nasal airway will be more open, 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. You cannot straighten your septum without surgery.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but a local anaesthetic can be used. The operation usually takes about 45 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the lining of your nose over your septum and lift the mucosa away from the cartilage and bone. They will remove the parts of the cartilage and bone that are bent and they will put the rest back in a straight position.

Your surgeon may place some packing in your nose to prevent bleeding.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

If you had non-dissolvable packing in your nose, you will need to stay overnight and the packing will be removed the next morning.

It is important to avoid catching a cold, which could cause infection inside your nose. Your doctor may advise you to stay off work and away from groups of people for a few days or up to 2 weeks after the operation, depending on the risk.

Do not exercise, have a hot bath or bend down for 2 weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • Adhesions, where scar tissue forms deep inside your nose and can obstruct airflow
  • Developing a collection of blood (haematoma) or an abscess between the layers of your septum
  • Making a hole in your septum
  • Damage to nerves that supply the skin and the gum over your front upper teeth
  • Change to the shape of your nose
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Toxic shock syndrome, which is an infection of your bloodstream
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

Surgery will result in you having a straight septum, which should relieve your symptoms of a blocked nose.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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