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What is septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to correct a deviated septum. The septum is a wall of bone and cartilage, which separates the two nostrils. A deviated septum or "crooked" septum occurs when the septum is shifted towards one side of the nasal cavity. This can cause difficulty breathing and reduced airflow due to blockage of the nasal airway.

During septoplasty surgery, the septum is straightened and repositioned to the middle of the nose. This procedure may include cutting and removing parts of the septum before reinserting them into the correction position. A septoplasty can be performed by itself or often it can be combined with a rhinoplasty.

"Surgeons who have the necessary training, expertise, and experience in reconstructive surgery are fit to perform cosmetic surgeries with excellent outcomes. Those surgeons only trained in aesthetic procedures will have much more difficulty doing the same. The more tools and training in plastic surgery the surgeons have, the more qualified they are! "

Who is a good candidate for septoplasty?

Septoplasty may be necessary to correct a deviated septum and alleviate breathing difficulties. Dr Ricardo will discuss treatment options and decide if this surgery is recommended. In general, you may be a good candidate for septoplasty if you have a deviated septum that causes difficulty breathing, snore excessively that may disrupt your sleep or gives you trouble sleeping, are physically healthy and you are a nonsmoker, or have stopped smoking recently.

What should I expect during a consultation for septoplasty?

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Dr Ricardo will evaluate you as a candidate for arm lift surgery and clarify what approach is best for you. Alternative and additional treatments may be considered, once he understands your goals and medical condition. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation and be prepared to discuss your surgical goals, medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments, current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, previous surgeries, and method of surgery.

Dr Ricardo will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, use a scope to observe the degree of deviation of the septum, take photographs, discuss the approach to your surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures and tell you whether your expectations are in line with typical results, discuss any risks or potential complications and share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours.

The success and safety of your septoplasty depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement about your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr Ricardo.

How should I prepare for a septoplasty?

In preparing for septoplasty, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking in advance of surgery and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

Your surgery will be performed in an accredited hospital and is usually performed on an outpatient basis unless you and Dr Ricardo have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.

Dr Ricardo and the entire staff will provide thorough preoperative instructions and answer any questions you may have. The goal is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results, as well as to make your surgical experience as easy, comfortable, and safe as possible.

What are the steps of a septoplasty?

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anaesthesia. Dr Ricardo will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

If a septoplasty is performed in isolation, the incisions are often within the nasal cavity. For difficult septoplasties or some of those performed with rhinoplasties, a small incision may be made across the columella, the narrow strip of tissue that separates the nostrils.

Step 3 – Mucosal lining separation

The nasal mucosal lining, the membrane that covers the surface of the septum, is then lifted away from the septum at one side. This is a critical step that is carefully performed since the lining is fragile, which may result in a tear or hole in the lining as the mucosa is lifted away from the septum. Similarly, the mucosal lining on the opposite side is lifted away from the septum.

Step 4 – Deviated septum correction and closing the incision

The deviated septum (bone and/or cartilage) is removed, leaving behind the special mucosal lining. Once the septum is in the desired position and straightened, the nasal mucosal lining is repositioned around it and sutured back together.

Step 5 – See the results

The newly constructed septum may be stabilized by splints or packing, which are removed shortly after surgery. Internal sutures used during the surgery dissolve on their own over time.

What should I expect during my septoplasty

Since septoplasty is an outpatient procedure, you will be able to go home the same day of your surgery after the anaesthesia has worn off. During your septoplasty recovery, packing may be placed inside your nose to provide support during the healing period. If rhinoplasty is performed at the same time, external bandages or a splint will also be placed on the outside of the nose. The packing can be removed by Dr Ricardo before you leave the hospital and the splints will be removed in the office shortly after surgery.

The initial swelling subsides within a few weeks, but it may take a few months for you to expect the full benefits of septoplasty. During the initial healing period, there may be minor pain and difficulty breathing. He will prescribe appropriate pain medication. Over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided as these drugs may thin the blood. Dr Ricardo may also recommend irrigation using saline (saltwater) to wash away any crust or surgical debris.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with Dr Ricardo.

Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases. Your final result needs to continue to follow Dr Ricardo's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.

What results should I expect after my septoplasty?

The results of your septoplasty are most often stable. The wounds in/on the nose will heal quickly and improvement in breathing is expected to improve shortly after the surgery. The overall healing process will be slow as cartilage and nasal tissue can take 3-6 months to fully settle. However, changes in the septum, cartilage, and nasal tissue may occur for up to a year or more after surgery. The nose and septum mustn't be subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing.

Most patients find their symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, to improve greatly after surgery and healing. Other improvements include better sleep and reduction of snoring. These levels of improvements expected from septoplasty vary from patient to patient. Dr Ricardo will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Following his instructions is key to successful septoplasty postoperative outcomes.

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