What is septoplasty?

Septoplasty is the surgical procedure to repair and correct a deviated, bent, or weak septum. The septum is a flat, vertical cartilage in the middle of the nose separating the nostrils. A normal, healthy septum will be straight and located along the medial line of the face. Nonetheless, the septum may deviate from the medial position and become crooked from trauma or disease, or simply as a congenital defect. This gives the bearer the look of a bent, misaligned nose, referred to as a deviated septum.
A mildly deviated septum is usually of little concern, and mostly an aesthetics issue. However, a highly deviated septum can obstruct the airway and impair breathing. Hence, it is always good to correct a deviated septum early to prevent potential complications.

Surgery Procedure

Septoplasty aims to straighten out and realign a deviated septum to the medial line. The surgery will be performed under local or general anaesthesia. The surgeon will make incisions on the medial side of the nostrils to access the cartilage, and occasionally a small incision at the base of the columella for more complex operations. The actual surgery would involve some, if not all of the following operations:
- Trimming of excess cartilage in the septum. A longer and larger septum has a tendency to kink and become weak
- Removing any bent, damaged or weak cartilage
- Adjusting and repositioning of cartilage to the medial line

In some cases, autologous cartilage grafts or artificial implants may be inserted to replace removed cartilage, or to provide additional support.
Once the necessary adjustments are made, the surgeon will close the incision with dissolvable sutures. In some cases, small plastic splints will be inserted for a few days to keep the septum in place while it heals.


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Possible risks and complications

Septoplasty, like all other surgery procedures, come with its own risks. Possible complications of septoplasty include, but are not to limited to:

Impaired sense of smell, taste, and/or general sensation around the nose caused by disturbed nerves during the surgery. This is usually temporary but can be permanent in severe cases.
Excessive bleeding from the nose.
Infection and inflammation.
Damage and perforation of parts of the non-deviated septum during or after surgery.

If the nose does not heal well post-surgery, or severe complications arise, a follow-up session may be required to rectify the issue and prevent long-term damage.

Most, if not all of these risks can be minimised or avoided completely by consulting a skilled, experienced and reputable surgeon for your septoplasty.


How long does the procedure take?

Septoplasty usually takes about 1 to 3 hours to completed depending on the complexity of the procedure.

What is the downtime?

Most patients are able to return to daily activities about a week after the surgery.

What should I take note of before the procedure?

Smoking and tobacco consumption, if any, should cease about 4 to 6 weeks before the surgery.

Certain drugs and health supplements like blood thinners may cause unnecessary complications during the surgery and may need to be ceased temporarily. Please inform the surgeon during the consultation if you are consuming any of these or other medication.

What should I take note of after the procedure?

Septoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure and patients can be discharged on the same day.

The surgeon may insert small, plastic nasal splints into the nose to facilitate healing. This will be removed in about 7 days.

Patients can expect some bloody discharge from the nose the first few days after the surgery. This is perfectly normal and you need not be alarmed. However, if bleeding is excessive, or persist for more than a week, please inform the surgeon.

Avoid smoking and tobacco for at least 2 weeks post-surgery.

Most sedentary work can resume 1 week after the surgery, or after the nasal splint has been removed, whichever is later. However, you should avoid strenuous work and exercise for at least 6 weeks.

Avoid putting unnecessary and excessive force on your nose to facilitate the healing process. Some things you can do are:

  • Do not blow your nose.
  • When sneezing, try to open your mouth to direct the airflow away from your nose.
  • Wear contact lens instead of glasses if possible. Otherwise, glasses may need to be suspended from the forehead with a specialised tape.

Adhere to the post-care instructions given by the our doctors and staff closely.
Most activities can gradually resume starting from 1 to 6 weeks after the surgery. A complete recovery will usually take about 3 months.

Can I combine septoplasty with other nose plastic surgery procedures?

Yes, you may combine septoplasty with rhinoplasty, nasal tip plasty or alarplasty. Do discuss this with the surgeon should you intend to do so.