A deviated septum can make allergy season and the common cold even more difficult to handle, and even lead to more serious breathing issues. While some people are born with a deviated septum, this condition can also occur from injury or trauma to the face. Both types of patients may benefit from a septoplasty, a type of surgical procedure designed to reposition and straighten the middle of the nose. Dr. Matthew D. Mingrone of Bay Area Sleep and Breathing Solutions provides this surgical procedure at our San Jose, CA, and San Francisco, CA, clinics to help improve our patients' health, comfort, and quality of life.
Issues Caused by a Deviated Septum
The area in between your nostrils is referred to as the nasal septum. It is responsible for separating your left and right nostrils and assists with breathing through the nose. When the bone and cartilage is misaligned, it is referred to as a deviated septum. This medical condition makes one side of the nose smaller than the other and can cause a number of issues, including:
- Difficulty breathing clearly through one or both nostrils
- Sleep apnea and snoring
- Recurrent nosebleeds
- Nostril or facial pain
The only way a deviated septum can be corrected is through surgery. Having a properly aligned septum can significantly improve your breathing and quality of sleep.
What to Expect Before and During a Septoplasty
Prior to surgery, you will meet with Dr. Mingrone to determine your candidacy for this procedure. If you are a good candidate, the doctor will take before pictures of your nose to use when comparing your final results. He will also explain the procedure in detail and provide a list of pre-operative instructions.
A properly aligned septum can significantly improve your breathing and sleep.
On the day of your surgery, you will be provided with anesthesia for optimal comfort. This procedure can be performed under local or general anesthesia. The type recommended will depend on your health and the complexity of the procedure. Once the area is numb and you are comfortable, the surgeon will begin by making an incision inside the nostrils to separate the mucous membrane from the cartilage and bones within the septum. In more severe cases, an incision may be required on the outside of the nose. Once the appropriate incisions are made, the surgeon will remove any excess cartilage and bone to straighten the septum and then reposition the mucous membrane. The necessary sutures will be applied and the nose packed with cotton to alleviate bleeding and hold the septum in the desired position. The overall procedure can generally be completed in 30 to 90 minutes.
Aftercare and Recovery
After the procedure, you can typically return home the same day. Before leaving our surgical facility, you will be provided with post-op instructions to help with your recovery. Following these instructions and taking your medications as directed will help minimize any soreness, swelling, and bruising. Although the cotton packing can be removed one to two days after surgery, you will be encouraged to avoid blowing your nose for at least three to four days. It is also important to keep your head elevated when resting and to avoid bumping your nose during normal activity and changing clothes. Physical activity and exercise, such as running, contact sports, and lifting weights will need to be avoided for at least three weeks to prevent nosebleeds.
Restore Your Breathing
If you are having difficulty breathing through your nose, you may find a septoplasty beneficial to your health and well-being. Contact our office online to schedule your consultation, or call (415) 926-6300 to reach our San Francisco office or (408) 374-4370 to reach out San Jose office.