What is A septoplasty?
The septum is the divider between the right side of the nose and the left side of the nose. It can be significantly bent or crooked causing obstruction of either the left or right side. Septoplasty is a procedure used to correct this crookedness of the septum. With modern techniques this can be corrected with a very small incision endoscopically.
You may have been told by friends or coworkers about how difficult their septoplasty procedure was for them and how much pain they had experienced. Unfortunately many ENT surgeons are still using older techniques for septoplasty. Dr. Slaughter has pioneered the modern technique which allows the septum to be corrected with a 3mm incision, no packing, no splinting, no bruising, no plastic or gauze in the nose. Patients are able to breathe better in most cases right away.
causes of a deviated septum
Typically the septum is deviated because of some form of trauma. This trauma may occur when the patient is very young and frequently the patient may have no recollection of this original trauma.
Dr. Daniel Slaughter explains what it means to have a deviated septum, why it matters and how it is treated with an in office procedure (under IV sedation).
What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
Patients with a deviated septum typically complain of the following symptoms:
- Chronic congestions
- Nasal Obstruction
- Mouth Breathing
- Sleep apnea
They may also have more frequent sinus infections.
Who is the ideal candidate for septum surgery?
Anyone who is significantly symptomatic from there deviated septum is an excellent candidate. The procedure is simple and safe and can be performed at all ages but typically the procedure is avoided in the very young population until they reach puberty.
Diagnosing a Deviated Septum
The diagnosis of a deviated septum is made by nasal endoscopy. In our office when a patient has a complaint of congestion or sinus issues a nasal endoscopy is performed. A high definition camera connected to the nasal endoscope allows the inside of the nose to be seen on a screen connected to the exam chair. The endoscope provides a painless evaluation inside the nose with 3 times magnification. The structure of the septum, the nasal turbinates, and sinus outflow areas can be seen. Frequently this nasal endoscopy exam is coupled with a miniCT scan performed in our office. This provides a comprehensive understanding of the nasal and sinus anatomy.
How is the Septoplasty Procedure Performed?
Septoplasty is typically performed under IV sedation in our office. Local anesthesia is also used so that the patient is comfortable when they wake up. Using a 4mm telescope a 3mm incision is made inside the nose on the septum. The lining of the septum can easily be elevated off of the structure of the septum. The septum is made of fine bone and cartilage similar to an eggshell. This structure is then adjusted back to the midline. The septal lining is laid back on to the structure and sewn closed with one dissolvable suture. In our technique there is no packing, no splinting, and no material packed in to the nose.
Risks Associated with septoplasty
Fortunately, there is very little risk associated with having a septoplasty. Patient may have some nasal bleeding but this is typically quite mild and self-limited. There is a very small chance that further surgery will be necessary. There is a very small chance of a perforation or a hole in the septum which would cause crusting.
Can other procedures be performed at the same time as a Septoplasty?
Very frequently septoplasty is performed along with balloon sinuplasty and turbinate reduction. The addition of a balloon sinuplasty further improves the nasal breathing, reduces the risk for sinus infections, and reduces sinus pressure and headache. The addition of turbinate reduction also further improves the nasal breathing as well as reduces allergy symptoms such as post nasal drip.
Will I have any visible scarring after treatment?
There is a very small incision inside the nose, approximately 3 mm, and no external scarring.
Septum surgery recovery
Most patients can return to work the following day. Typically patients can resume normal activity including physical exercise within one week. Patients will typically complain of cold like symptoms lasting approximately five days. The modern technique does not require any packing or splinting and is virtually painless.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are interested in a septoplasty and would like to learn more information, contact our Austin, TX office today at 512-601-0303 to schedule a consultation with ENT Specialist Dr. Daniel Slaughter.