Septum surgery, also known as a septoplasty, is an operation to correct a deviated septum. The septum is the partition between the 2 sides of the nose. It is comprised of bone and cartilage in a mucosal lining. Some people have a bent or deviated septum. It can make breathing difficult, and may affect the overall appearance of the face. In cases like this, when medical treatments have been ineffective, septum surgery can make a big difference in a patient’s quality of life. If you’re considering having septum surgery, or have been told that a septoplasty could help you, here’s what you might expect after the surgery has been completed.
Septoplasty is typically performed under general anesthesia. After the surgery is completed, the patient will be given time to recover from the effects of the anesthetic. This can take a few hours, and during this time the patient may experience feelings of fatigue, or nausea. Once the anesthetic has worn off, the patient will be allowed home. This means that most patients will return home on the day of their operation. The patient will not be able to drive, so they must arrange a form of transportation home beforehand. At the Becker ENT Center, we are happy to help arrange transportation when needed.
No Packing; No Splints
Historically, many physicians would pack the nose or use splints after nasal surgery, and in many centers, this is still the case. This packing and/or splints can be quite uncomfortable. For most cases, physicians at the Becker ENT Center to do not use packing or splints. This plays a big role in decreasing post-operative pain and discomfort.
Dressings and Stitches
A small gauze dressing, known as a mustache dressing, may be placed under the nose to collect blood during the initial hours after surgery. The dressing is mostly placed for patient convenience and may be removed whenever the patient would like to do so. Patients will also have stitches on the inside of the nose. These are typically self-dissolving stitches, so you won’t have to return to have them removed. It can take several weeks for the stitches to fully dissolve.
What to Do When You Arrive Home
You will be given in-depth care advice before you leave the office prior to surgery, which will be reviewed on the day of surgery. Once you get home, you may feel very tired. When you go to bed, it will help to have your head in an elevated position. Use two or three pillows to keep your head in this position. It can help to reduce swelling in the nasal tissues. Some patients like to apply ice packs for comfort, although this is by no means required.
It is likely that you will feel hungry after returning home. Eat slowly and carefully, so as not to provoke nausea. It is helpful if a friend or relative spends the first night with you after surgery, as you might want someone to help wait on you.
While every patient is different, pain after septoplasty is usually well-managed with low-dose narcotic pain medication. Most patients switch to simple Extra-Strength Tylenol or a similar analgesic after a few days. Of course if these medications are not controlling your pain you should let your surgeon know so that he or she can help you get appropriate pain management. Don’t take pain control medications without the permission of your surgeon, as aspirin containing medication and NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen should typically be avoided for a few weeks after the operation.
Recovery from Septoplasty
Physicians at the Becker ENT Center are highly skilled in nasal surgery. Improvement in nasal breathing and quality of life after deviated septum surgery can be dramatic. The operation itself has evolved over the years, so that it is now typically a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure with a relatively quick recovery period. If you want more information, or to arrange a consultation, please contact the Becker ENT Center.