In Treating my Deviated Septum, Am I Better Off With a Septoplasty Procedure?
For years I thought my sinus problems were just something I had to learn to live with. I’d had an almost constant stuffy nose since my early teens. It seemed to get more plugged when I went to bed, when I could barely breathe through my nose at all. I took antihistamines and decongestant spray because I thought it was just allergies or hay fever. But nothing seemed to make it get any better.
Sometimes I woke up in the morning with blood stains on my pillow. These nosebleeds seemed to happen more during the winter. My doctor said that it was probably a combination of the dry air blowing from my heater all night and the nasal decongestants that I was using nightly. So, I turned the heat down a little overnight, and switched from decongestant to saline spray. The nosebleeds got better, but I still couldn’t breathe through my nose at night.
I couple of years ago, I started snoring. It was interfering with the quality of my sleep and keeping my partner awake at night. At that point, I decided it was finally time to do something about it. I found out that I had a deviated septum and didn’t even know it. I wondered if Septoplasty could finally get rid of my chronic stuffy nose and all the problems that it caused.
What is Septoplasty?
A deviated septum happens when the partition that separates the two nasal chambers somehow becomes crooked. This can result from a congenital defect or some form of injury or trauma that can occur during childbirth or at some point later in life. Septoplasty is a corrective surgical procedure that can be performed to repair a deviated septum. During surgery, the septum can be straightened and repositioned to the midline of the nasal cavity. Sometimes, it might require the removal of all or part of the septum, so it can be reinserted into the proper position.
Prior to having a septoplasty, it’s important that the patient have a consultation to ensure that this is the proper procedure for them. The doctor will perform a thorough examination of the nasal passages and discuss the symptoms you’ve been having. They will also explore the patient’s medical history and review the steps you have taken, up until that point, to alleviate the symptoms related to their deviated septum. Surgery should never be the first option. A responsible physician will ensure that all non-surgical avenues have been pursued prior to suggesting Septoplasty as an option.
What Is Involved in This Surgical Procedure?
Once the decision has been made to proceed with surgery, there are several pre-surgical procedures that will need to be done. The surgeon will examine the patient’s nose to determine how extensive the surgical procedure will need to be. Photographs will be taken of the nose, from a variety of angles, to be used for presurgical discussion and post-surgical reference. There should also be a discussion, between the patient and surgeon, regarding the expected results.
Prior to the procedure, the patient will be advised what they should or shouldn’t realistically expect their results to be. They will also be advised to stop taking any medications that contain aspirin or ibuprofen, for two weeks before and after surgery, as this could increase bleeding. Any medication that will not be stopped must be approved by the surgeon beforehand. Patients who smoke will be advised to stop before surgery, and for a couple of weeks after, because it can slow the healing process.
Depending on the complexity of the surgical procedure and the preferences discussed between patient and doctor, this procedure can be performed under either local or general anesthesia. It is usually performed at an outpatient surgical center. The surgeon will generally go in through the nostrils and most repairs can be performed without having to remove and replace the septum. Most surgeons prefer to use absorbable sutures, so they don’t have to be removed later, and soft splints to support the septum while it heals.
What Results Can Usually Be Expected?
Post-surgical recovery will usually take several weeks. Most doctors recommend that patients avoid strenuous activity and nose blowing, as well as sleeping with their head elevated, throughout the recovery period. Although most patients experience long-lasting, stable results, some may experience a small amount of gradual reshaping over time. Most people who undergo this procedure do experience an improvement of their symptoms and express satisfaction with their surgical results.
Once the healing was done, I was very happy with how my septoplasty turned out. I did a pretty good job of following my doctor’s post-surgical instructions. Unfortunately, I did forget once during the first week, his recommendation to avoid wearing shirts that had to be removed over my head. I’m not going to go into details, let’s just say that I saw stars for a while and never made that mistake again. It has been three years since I had my surgery. I’m sleeping better, breathing better, and haven’t had a nosebleed in years. I’m so happy that I chose to have my deviated septum repaired!
Where Can I Go for Septoplasty?
Becker Ear, Nose & Throat Center serves patients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and surrounding areas. Their staff of board certified otolaryngologists are recognized internationally for leading their field. They treat patients like people, not numbers, providing personalized care that is designed to meet patients’ individual needs. Their holistic approach to medical service is surpassed by none.
The published and patent-holding specialists of this practice are routinely called on to share their expertise on a wide variety of educational forums. They have received strong testimonials from their many satisfied patients.