Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction Newport Beach
Many times the external structure of the nose is straight and strong, but there is still a significant function problem. This is usually due to a deviated septum and/or enlarged turbinates. These issues can only be seen by an intranasal examination.
The septum is the middle-dividing wall between each side of the nasal cavity. When this is bent to one side or the other, it can block airflow. The septum can also be bent in an s-shape and cause obstructive symptoms to both sides of the nose. This is addressed with a Septoplasty. This procedure is performed entirely within the nose without any external incisions. The portion of obstructing cartilage is either removed or repositioned. There is very little down time and most patients can breathe better immediately after surgery.
The turbinates are small bony outgrowths within the nose. There are three on each side but the inferior turbinate causes a majority of the problems. These small bones are covered with a skin lining that enlarges and shrinks with input from the nervous system as well as in response to allergy. When these are repeatedly stimulated, they become enlarged and can block the airflow. They can be shrunk down in a number of ways, but by reducing their size, it allows more airflow and less congestion.
Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction FAQ’s
The recovery from a septoplasty is generally fairly easy. There are no external incisions and there is no external bruising or swelling. You may have some discomfort inside your nose for a day or so; most patients take pain medication for only one or two days. The operation is performed due to a deviation in the cartilage or bone, which will immediately be relieved when you wake up from surgery. However, there will be a significant amount of swelling inside the nose, which can take time to resolve. You will be using a salt water spray 5-10 times per day for the first few weeks to help rinse out the crusting and swelling. There are no stitches to remove and your breathing will gradually improve over about one months time.
No. When done correctly, a septoplasty can remove all the deviated cartilage and bone within the septum. The surgeon must leave the structural support intact. If the structural support is damaged, then a shape change may occur. With a standard septoplasty, your breathing should improve with no other consequences.
Yes. The only caveat to this is that many times during a rhinoplasty, the septal cartilage is used for grafting material. If you had a prior septoplasty, this may not be available and other sources such as ear or rib cartilage may be necessary. I suggest that if you are considering any cosmetic changes to your nose, it is much better to perform both procedures at the same time.
After any nasal surgery, I suggest waiting at least a week to blow the nose. It will feel congested but the saline sprays will help relieve some of that. At the one-week mark, I tell patients to go in the shower and breathe the steam in, and then you can blow gently. Two week after surgery you can go back to blowing the nose normally.
I recommend people only use saline spray for the first two weeks after surgery. When you are seen for a follow up visit, we may discuss other sprays. I never recommend the decongestant sprays such as afrin because they will affect healing. If you were on a nasal steroid spray (Flonase, Nasonex, etc.) before surgery, you can usually resume them at the three-week mark.