SEPTOPLASTY | SUBMUCOUS RESECTION OF SEPTUM
The terms SEPTOPLASTY refers to correction of problems related to the nasal septum. The nasal septum is the partition that divides the nose into two compartments. It is a structure consisting of two bony portions and a cartilaginous portion. The cartilaginous portion is the soft part in the front that can be moved from side to side. Problems related to the septum mostly consist of deviation and deformity which results in breathing problems through the nasal passages, in other words “nasal obstruction” that is either constant or variable, worsening at certain times. Statistically, a deviated septum is the most common cause of nasal obstruction.
SEPTAL DEFORMITY DEVELOPMENT
Septal deformity and deviation is usually a developmental problem, and sometimes post-traumatic, meaning related to a septonasal fracture which either went un-noticed during childhood, or was left untreated despite having been noticed. Often times a deviated and deformed septum does not cause any obstruction. There are also times when the septal deformity only begins causing obstructive symptoms later in life. This can be seen quite frequently in males who have heavy thick skin sleeves over their nose and once the nose has completed its development later in life, i.e. late twenties to early thirties, the combination of the heavy skin and borderline deviated septum starts causing obstructive symptoms.
Finally, a deviated and deformed septum may not be apparent externally, but there are cases where the deviation does not cause any obstructive symptoms, but causes asymmetry and crookedness of the nose. We will elaborate further on such cases when we discuss “correction of nasal asymmetry and the crooked nose”.
HOW CAN SEPTOPLASTY HELP?
A strictly functional septoplasty means correction of a deviated septum solely for alleviation of airway problems. This is usually done through a closed approach resulting in no external alteration. There is very little pain after the surgery, recovery is quite rapid, and there is virtually no swelling or bruising externally. Patients will have intranasal splints, consisting of silicone tubes that are placed inside the nasal passages for one week, to keep the septal structures in appropriate position. This is the only part of septoplasty that may be a little uncomfortable. Patients are cautioned to avoid strenuous physical activity for a period of 6-8 weeks as heavy strenuous activity after a septoplasty may cause bleeding, but they are allowed to return to their work and day-to-day routine within one week