Do you have a crooked nose or deviated septum from a past injury or accident? Maybe you experience difficulties with breathing through your nose, or feel that you want to reshape part of your nose? Septorhinoplasty is the most common way to correct a crooked nose and reshape the appearance of your nose. Here’s what to expect regarding septorhinoplasty, including procedure steps, recovery and aftercare.

What Is Septorhinoplasty?

A septorhinoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to correct a deviated septum and improve the aesthetic appearance of your nose; for most patients, these changes also making nasal breathing easier as the form (nasal structure) follows function (volume of the nasal airways).

The operation involves sculpting the nasal bones and cartilages to give your nose a new shape, structure and size (rhinoplasty); straightening the septum (septoplasty) improves both airflow through and appearance of your nose. Rhinoplasty (open or closed) and septoplasty are often performed together to achieve the desired results.

Septorhinoplasty Procedure Steps

A septoplasty procedure typically takes between 30 to 90 minutes to complete.

The stages of septorhinoplasty surgery include:

  1. Anaesthesia: For your comfort, the procedure is performed as a day stay patient under general anaesthesia.
  2. Incisions in and beneath the nose: ‘Open’ procedures require a small incision through the skin that joins the nose to the top lip. This incision leaves the only visible scar; it is very small, heals well and is very difficult to see after six months of healing. ‘Closed’ procedures have no skin incision. The Specialist Surgeon makes an incision inside of the nose to allow access to the septal bone and cartilage. The nasal mucosal lining (the tissue that covers the septum) is carefully elevated as this tissue is extremely fragile and vulnerable to tearing.
  3. Reshaping the nose structure: Cartilage from the nasal septum, ears or ribs may be used to reconstruct deformed or missing parts of the nasal cartilages.
  4. Deviated septum correction: The deviated septum is straightened and repositioned to the midline of the face, thus providing a rigid platform to suspend the nose improving both air flow (for breathing) and nasal symmetry (for appearance). Once the septum is straightened and in the desired position, the other components of the nasal structure are accessed and refined as indicated to reshape the nasal tip, nasal width and symmetry.
  5. Closing the incision: The nasal skin and mucosal tissues are re-draped over the new cartilage and bone nasal structure. The incisions are sutured together with dissolving stitches. The nose is then supported with a nasal splint and may require packs inside the nose during the early recovery period.
  6. Viewing the result: The early outcome of the procedure is visible immediately once the splints and dressing are removed. The final appearance will become stable over the next 6-12 months as the nasal tissue heal completely.

Will a septoplasty straighten my nose?

Septoplasty can cosmetically straighten your nose by reshaping your nasal septum (the septum is a thin wall of bone and cartilage that separates the nostrils in the middle). Extreme nasal asymmetry (deviation) can be challenging to completely correct, but most patients will achieve a significant improvement in both nasal appearance and breathing. If you experience a blockage in your nasal passage due to a deviated septum, septoplasty can greatly relieve your difficulty with breathing.

Is deviated septum surgery painful?

Most patients experience only a little pain and swelling for 2-3 days after surgery. When combined with rhinoplasty surgery, some patients will experience black eyes. You may have a feeling of pressure in your nose for a few days and nose bleeding is possible in the early stages. You will be provided with scripted pain relief medications to keep you comfortable. Rest, a couple of days off work or study, ice packs applied to the nose and eye area, may help reduce pain and swelling.

Septorhinoplasty Recovery Tips

Avoid blowing the nose for the first week, as this will reduce nose bleeds. Also, avoid physical activity likely to increase your blood pressure (exercises or bending over) for 2-3 weeks. Protect your nose from sunburn and limit exposure to accidental knocks for 8 weeks.

Will there be stitches, dressing or nasal packs after rhinoplasty?

Stitches placed inside the nose are usually self-dissolving and don’t require removal. Dressings and other nasal packs are removed within 10 days. Nasal splints may be left in position for a few weeks.

How much bleeding is normal after septoplasty?

Your nose bleeds a little or blood spot for 2-3 days after surgery. A small amount of bleeding and discharge is absolutely normal.

To manage the bleeding, sit up, tilt your head forward slightly and breathe through your mouth. Spit out any blood that drains into your mouth or throat.

If a nosebleed persists for more than fifteen minutes, or you are concerned about the amount of bleeding, please contact your Specialist or visit the hospital immediately.

Will I experience fatigue after septoplasty?

Like most surgeries, a septoplasty will likely leave you feeling tired for up to 1 to 2 weeks.

How do I clean my nose after septoplasty?

After your surgery, it is important to keep the surgical wound clean. Your surgeon will recommend:

  1. Using a saline nasal spray or sinus rinse once every hour to clear any debris left in your nose
  2. Gently cleaning your nostril each day with a mixture of half water, half peroxide, applied with a cotton tip
  3. Applying an antibiotic ointment inside each nostril after cleaning the nostril

How can I manage nasal congestion?

You may experience a blocked nose for up to 2 weeks until the swelling from the surgery subsides. Resist blowing your nose, even if it feels congested, because this might cause bleeding. If you must sneeze, try to sneeze through your mouth.

To help ease swelling and congestion, we recommend sleeping on your back with your head elevated on two or more pillows for 2-3 days.

What activities should I avoid?

To keep your surgical wound clean while it heals, follow these guidelines:

24 hours after surgery

  • Do not rub or even touch the nose
  • Do not take a shower or bath

Two weeks after surgery

  • Avoid blowing your nose
  • Avoid heavy lifting, bending, straining and stooping
  • Avoid bending over

One month after surgery

  • Avoid medium to high levels of exercise, such as playing sport
  • Avoid social contact to prevent catching a cold, sinus or chest infection
  • Avoid air travel
  • Avoid smoke and dust to prevent infection

Will I retain my sense of smell and taste after rhinoplasty?

After the surgery, your internal nasal tissues may swell, temporarily diminishing your sense of smell and taste. After a few weeks, your sense of smell and taste should return to normal.

How long does it take to recover from septoplasty?

Although you may be able to return to work in one to two weeks, full recovery can take up to 6 weeks or more.

How long does it take for stitches to dissolve after septoplasty?

Your surgeon will use dissolvable or absorbable stitches to suture the incision and help it heal. These will usually dissolve or fall out within a week or two.

Septoplasty Complications

When performed by an experienced Specialist Surgeon, septo-rhinoplasty surgery is a predictable procedure with a high success rate and low risk. However, as with an operation, complications are possible and can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Scarring – most scarring is minimal and almost invisible.
  • Perforation of the septum (when a hole in your septum allows air flow between the nostrils)
  • An altered nose shape – a small number of rhinoplasty patients will require further surgery to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Discolouration of the nasal skin
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Infection
  • An adverse reaction to anaesthesia

Talk with the surgical specialists at Dental Implant & Specialist Centre about what septoplasty can achieve for you. Get in touch with Dental Implant & Specialist Centre today on (07) 5503 1744.