Septo-plasty should not be confused with rhinoplasty although the two operations are often performed together. When they are combined, the resulting procedure is called a septo-rhinoplasty.
What is Septoplasty?
The septum is the wall between the left and right sides of the nose. It is firm, but bendable. Ideally, the nasal septum should lie exactly in the centre, so that the left and right sides of the nose are of equal size. In about 80% of us, however, the nasal septum is a little off-centre, although most of us never notice. Less often, the septum is more dramatically off-centre. This is called a deviated septum.
Surgery on the septum alone is called septo-plasty. A deviated septum will affect one's breathing in ranges of a mild annoyance to a complete lack of function of one or both nostrils. Even if there is little or no breathing disturbances a deviated septum can make the exterior bridge of the nose look crooked and/or unappealing.
What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
Patients who have a deviated septum find that one side of the nose is wider than normal and one is narrower. This alters the normal pattern of airflow in the nose and sometimes blocks the narrowed side. The altered airflow pattern within the nose can cause the skin of the nasal septum to become dry and cracked, which can cause frequent nosebleeds.
Due to genetics or trauma, the septum can bend to one side or another, or an irregular growth of cartilage or bone can develop (known as a septal spur). These abnormalities can cause obstruction of the flow of air through the nose and cause difficulty breathing.
What does Septo-rhinoplasty Surgery involve?
Septo-rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure to straighten the cartilage and bone that separates the nose into two sides. This surgery addresses the outer shape of the nose as well as the septum which divides the two airways. This will improve obstructions to breathing, when combined with rhinoplasty it will also give the nose a straighter, improved shape.
The most important part of any septo-rhinoplasty is maintaining or improving the airway. During the procedure, the surgeon will move your septum to a normal position he will also reshape the external appearance of your nose bringing it into balance with the other features of the face.
How long does Septo-rhinoplasty surgery take?
The procedure can take up to 2.5 hours to perform depending on the extent of surgery. For the next week or two, your breathing will be somewhat compromised due to some swelling inside the nose, you will also have some bruising which is to be expected. Your breathing will become easier with time, and after 2-3 weeks you should be fully recovered; again depending on the extent of surgery.
Further Reading on Septoplasty
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