The septum is the tissue that separates your nostrils. You may be surprised to know that it’s not always perfectly symmetrical, which most people don’t even notice. However, what’s termed a deviated septum could become a problem if it’s affecting your ability to breathe through your nose or contributing to other problems. If this is what initially brought you to your regular doctor, you may be referred to a septoplasty specialist in Mission Viejo to determine if surgical correction is necessary.
Why Consider Septoplasty?
If your nasal septum is too far in one direction or the other, you may have trouble breathing through one or both nostrils. Obstructed nasal airflow can contribute to a wide range of problems, including sleep apnea, nasal congestion, and more severe allergy symptoms.
Some people with a severely deviated septum also experience loud breathing or issues with snoring. A septoplasty specialist in Mission Viejo can perform an examination to determine if realigning your nasal septum could be beneficial. This process may involve the insertion of a flexible tube into your nostrils (nasal endoscopy) if there is a need to look for nasal obstructions or other potential sources of your symptoms.
What Happens Before Surgery?
If it’s determined surgery is the right option for your situation after performing an initial exam and discussing your options, be sure to disclose any current medications you may be taking so proper precautions can be taken with anesthesia. It’s also common to request that patients on blood thinners stop taking these medications shortly before surgery to minimize bleeding issues. A septoplasty specialist in Mission Viejo may also discuss your expectations with this procedure and take photographs of your nose prior to surgery to use a reference.
How Does a Septoplasty Specialist in Mission Viejo Perform the Procedure?
The decision on which type of anesthesia to use will be based on the complexity of the procedure. Some people only need local anesthesia that numbs the affected area of the nose, while others benefit more from general anesthesia. During the procedure, an incision is usually made on one side of the nose along the septum.
A protective covering (mucous membrane) is then removed. After the septum is realigned, excess bone or cartilage may be removed as well before repositioning the mucous membrane. Soft splints are sometimes inserted in the nostrils to support the septum. The entire procedure usually takes 30-90 minutes to complete.
What Can You Expect Afterwards?
Some patients require stitches after surgery, while others only need to have nasal packing inserted temporarily. You may be advised to take oral nasal decongestants following surgery to minimize stuffiness as tissues heal. Additional precautions commonly recommended after surgery include:
- Not blowing your nose for a few weeks
- Keeping your head elevated while sleeping
- Not sleeping on your stomach since this will place pressure on your face and nose
- Avoiding clothing you’ll need to pull over your head
- Staying away from strenuous activities like jogging, aerobics, and running for about a month or so
Your nose’s tissues should be fully healed after 3-6 months, although your septum’s shape may continue to adjust slightly beyond this point. Many individuals do enjoy the desired results after having this procedure. However, some patients may return to a septoplasty specialist in Mission Viejo to determine if a second procedure is needed if symptoms aren’t sufficiently improving.