Septoplasty: what it is, procedure and recovery (2023)


Septoplasty: what it is, procedure and recovery (1)

What is a septoplasty?

Septoplasty is an operation in yourNosetarget adeviated nasal septum. Their septum, about 7 centimeters long (2.5 to 3 in) in adults, is made up of cartilage and bone. It separates the inside of your nose into two chambers, or nostrils.

A deviated septum is a septum that is crooked or curved instead of straight. It can block one or both nostrils and impede airflow. Your septum can deviate from an injury, but you can also be born with it.

Is Septoplasty a Major Surgery?

No. Septoplasty is a minor, low-risk procedure. Recovery typically takes a few days and requires an average of a week of downtime. But like any surgery, septoplasty carries some risks, including bleeding, infection, and deafness.

Who Needs a Septoplasty?

People with a septal deviation and a stuffy nose may need a septoplasty. Additionally, healthcare providers may recommend a septoplasty for:

  • Removednasal polyps.
  • Treatchronic sinusitis.
  • Stop Recurrence (Chronic)nosebleeds(less common).
  • Address other medical conditions that are blocking your nasal airways.

While septoplasty is often performed as a standalone procedure, your doctor may recommend a septoplasty and turbinate reduction. Whileturbinate reduction, your surgeon reduces the size of the small, bony structures in your nose.

(Video) What is septoplasty? | treatment, procedure & recovery

Septoplasty is most commonly performed in adolescents and adults. While this is not generally the case for young children, there are specific instances where your child's provider may recommend it.

How common is a septoplasty?

Septoplasty is one of the most common procedures performed by otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat, or otolaryngologists). Surgeons in the US perform approximately 260,000 septoplasty procedures each year.

Procedural Details

What happens before the septoplasty?

You will meet with your doctor to discuss your septoplasty. You will be given a list of preoperative instructions that you should follow carefully.

Your provider needs to know about all medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and herbs. Before the operation, you should stop taking medication such asAspirin,Ibuprofen,Naproxenand sureHerbal supplementsthat make blood clotting difficult. You should also let your doctor know if you have any allergies or bleeding problems.

What happens during septoplasty?

Septoplasty is usually performed on an outpatient basis, so most people go home the day of their surgery. In most cases, a healthcare provider will place you under Generalanesthesia. This means you sleep during the operation. Local anesthesia, which numbs the part of the body being operated on, might be an option.

The procedure takes place entirely in your nose. Your surgeon makes an incision (cut) on one side of your nose and lifts the lining (a thin membrane that covers and protects the septum). This allows your surgeon to reshape the bone and cartilage of the septum. Sometimes your surgeon removes portions of the bone and cartilage, and then reshapes and repositions the underlying structures of your nose. They then reposition the mucosa over the septum. Your nose will not be broken during the surgery. The operation takes between 30 and 90 minutes.

(Video) How long is the recovery from a deviated septum surgery?

After that, your surgeon can insert splints or soft packs to hold the nasal tissue in place, prevent nosebleeds, and reduce the risk of scar tissue. Normally the splints stay in place for a week. Sometimes your surgeon may just leave dissolving threads that will go away on their own over time.

How painful is a septoplasty?

After a septoplasty, you can expect mild to moderate discomfort. Many people compare the feeling to asinus infection– with some pain and pressure around themEyes, across the forehead and across the cheeks and upper teeth. These side effects are normal and generally go away within a few days.

What happens after septoplasty?

After your septoplasty, your medical team will watch you closely while the anesthesia wears off. As soon as you are awake and well, you can go home.

Your surgeon will provide you with a list of post-operative instructions that will help you manage pain, bleeding, and swelling after your septoplasty. During recovery, you should avoid exercise and heavy lifting. This is because an increase in yourheartbeatand blood pressure can cause additional bleeding, pain, and swelling. Your surgeon will tell you when it's safe to resume your normal routines.

(note: Read more about post-operative care in the Recovery and Outlook section below.)

Risks / Benefits

What are the benefits of septoplasty?

A septoplasty can improve airflow through your nasal passages. This can lead to a number of benefits. For example septoplasty:

(Video) Deviated Septum Surgery (Septoplasty)

  • Treats breathing problems caused by a deviated nasal septum, nasal polyps, or other similar conditions.
  • Can reduce or eliminatesnoring, giving you a better night's sleep.
  • Allows better drainage from the sinuses, resulting in less sinus infections.

What are the risks or complications of a septoplasty?

Septoplasty complications are rare. But as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks. These include:

  • heavy bleeding
  • Infection.
  • Scars (this is not usually visible as it is in your nose).
  • A perforation (hole) in your septum.
  • Numbness of your nose and teeth (usually temporary).
  • Toxic Shock Syndrome(rarely).
  • Spinal fluid leak (rare).

Recovery and Outlook

What is the schedule for septoplasty recovery?

Initial septoplasty recovery usually takes about a week or less. However, overall healing of the bone and cartilage takes several months to a year.

How can I take care of myself after a septoplasty?

The initial healing time for septoplasty is about a week. Your surgeon will give you specific post-operative guidelines to follow closely during this time. Below are some general instructions to help you recover quickly and comfortably.

activity level

  • Rest at home for a few days after the operation. You can resume light activities after a week if you feel ready. Avoid strenuous physical activity for a month. These include going to the gym, swimming and contact sports.
  • Avoid blowing your nose and sneezing with your mouth open for the first week.
  • If your caregiver has filled your nostrils with splints, avoid getting the splints wet when you shower. (It's okay to flush them with saline.) Your doctor will remove them in about a week. If you don't have splints, you can bathe the day after the operation.


  • Unrestricted. Resume your normal diet as tolerated.

pain control

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such asParacetamol(Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®).
  • If necessary, you can alternate acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) every three hours to control your discomfort.


  • If you develop an inferior oneFever(101 degrees or less), take paracetamol.
  • If you have a high fever (over 38 degrees) — or if your fever lasts more than two days — call your doctor.


  • Your provider can give youAntibiotics. You should start these on the day of your surgery and complete the entire course (unless your doctor tells you otherwise).

surgical bandage

  • Your surgeon will place gauze under your nose after the procedure. You should leave this in place until the drainage stops - usually after 48 hours. You can change the gauze as needed.
  • If you have heavy bleeding that requires changing gauze every hour, call your doctor for further instructions.
  • Your surgeon may also place soft splints or packs in your nose. Typically, the packaging will self-dissolve. However, if they are still there, your provider will remove them on your first follow-up visit (usually after a week). (note: If the packing falls out when you sneeze, you don't need to replace it.)

Keep the surgical site clean

  • You need to flush the inside of your nose with saline. Your provider will explain how to do this.
  • If you develop scabs around your nostrils, dip a cotton swab in half the strengthhydrogen peroxide(equal amounts of peroxide and water). Then gently clean the area, being careful not to insert the cotton swab into your nostrils.

What is the outlook for people with a septoplasty?

The outlook after a septoplasty is generally good, with success rates of up to 85%. But about 15% of people who have a septoplasty don't notice a significant improvement in symptoms.

When to call the doctor

When should I see my doctor?

If you're constantly having trouble breathing through your nose, schedule a visit to your doctor. You may have nasal congestion due to a deviated septum, nasal polyps, or other medical conditions. Septoplasty may be a good treatment option for you.

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If you've recently had a septoplasty, you should call your provider if you notice any of the following:

  • difficulty breathing.
  • A severe, uncontrollable nosebleed.
  • Pain that gets worse and doesn't get better with medication.
  • High fever.
  • chills.
  • Headache.
  • disorientation.
  • neck stiffness.

more details

Is a septoplasty the same as a rhinoplasty?

No. WhileNasenkorrekturwhether focused on changing the external appearance of your nose or focused on providing structural support for your nose, septoplasty will target the structures inside your nose. Rhinoplasty is generally acosmetic surgeryProcedure while septoplasty restores function.

Does septoplasty change the shape of the nose?

No. The septoplasty itself does not change the shape of your nose. However, if you want to change the shape of your nose in addition to correcting your septal deviation, your surgeon may be able to combine a septoplasty with a rhinoplasty. Ask your doctor about your treatment options.

A note from the Cleveland Clinic

Septoplasty is a minor surgical procedure that offers great benefits to many people. It can open your nasal passages and improve your breathing. Although septoplasty is a common procedure, it may not be right for everyone. So if you're having trouble breathing through your nose, your doctor needs to determine why. If you have nasal polyps or a deviated septum, a septoplasty can relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.


What is the recovery for septoplasty? ›

Septoplasty is usually an outpatient procedure, so most people can go home the day of surgery. Swelling may last two to three days, but full recovery may take up to three months.

What are the steps to septoplasty? ›

A septoplasty procedure includes the following steps:
  1. Step 1 – Anesthesia. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. ...
  2. Step 2 – The incision. ...
  3. Step 3 – Mucosal lining separation. ...
  4. Step 4 – Deviated septum correction. ...
  5. Step 5 – Closing the incision. ...
  6. Step 6 – See the results.

How long does septoplasty surgery take? ›

When You're in the Hospital. You had septoplasty to fix the problems in your nasal septum. This surgery takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours. You may have received general anesthesia so you were asleep and pain free.

How long should I take off work after septoplasty? ›

Septoplasty is a relatively minor procedure and the majority of individuals who are doing administrative roles will normally be back at work after about a week or so. Jobs that are more physically demanding and involve heavy lifting might require a more graduated return to full activities over, say, another week.

Is septoplasty recovery painful? ›

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. Your physician will prescribe appropriate pain medication.

Can you sleep after septoplasty? ›

You should be able to get a normal night's sleep 3-5 days after your Septoplasty once your internal nasal splints are removed by Dr. Cohen. However, the first 3-5 days after surgery can be tough. Sleeping poorly is very common, especially during the first few nights, mainly due to pain and swelling.

What not to do after septoplasty? ›

You should not drive, operate machinery, drink alcohol, or make any major decisions for at least 24 hours after surgery. Your anesthesia may make you groggy and it will be hard to think clearly. The effects should wear off in about 24 hours. Limit activities that could make you fall or put more pressure on your face.

Can you breathe after septoplasty? ›

Once a septoplasty is healed, you'll likely find it's easier to breathe. Your surgeon can discuss what septoplasty can achieve for you.

Are you awake during septoplasty? ›

Most people receive general anesthesia for septoplasty. You will be asleep and pain-free. Some people have the surgery under local anesthesia, which numbs the area to block pain. You will stay awake if you have local anesthesia.

What is the fastest way to recover from septoplasty? ›

10 Tips for Septoplasty Recovery
  1. Keep The Surgical Site Clean. ...
  2. No Sports or Strenuous Activities. ...
  3. Rest and Relaxation. ...
  4. No Spicy or Hot Foods. ...
  5. Slow and Easy Walks. ...
  6. Wear Contacts Instead of Glasses. ...
  7. Take Care of Your Body and Keep Hydrated. ...
  8. Change Your Routine to Avoid Strain and Stress.

How long after septoplasty can I go for a walk? ›

Activity: It is important to refrain from any strenuous activities for the first 2 weeks after surgery. After 2 weeks, you may engage in light activity (i.e. light walking). By 4 weeks, stretching, yoga, or light-weight exercises can be resumed. Heavy weights and all pre-surgery activity may be resumed after 6 weeks.

How long will my nose run after septoplasty? ›

Most of the time complete healing in your nose is complete within 3-4 weeks. However, if you're experiencing difficulty breathing, uncontrollable nosebleeds, or colored nasal discharge more than a week after your procedure, it's time to call your doctor.

What foods to avoid after septoplasty? ›

In the first few weeks post-surgery, we recommend avoiding the following to prevent any excessive swelling, constipation, or nausea. Hot and spicy foods. Not only can they increase swelling and lead to a build-up of fluid, but they can cause nausea and sickness, especially within the first 24 hours of surgery.

Can I sit after septoplasty? ›

In the first few weeks after septoplasty, it is normal to have some bleeding and discharge. To stop the bleeding, you can sit up and tilt the head forward.

What foods can I eat after septoplasty? ›

Eat or drink whatever feels comfortable, but you might find that clear fluids and soft foods are more easily tolerated for the first 24 hours. 2. Take your medications as directed.

Is septoplasty a major surgery? ›

To minimize the minor side effects, patients can sleep with their head elevated. Septoplasty is a minor nose surgery that can achieve major results.

How long do you have to wear gauze after septoplasty? ›

Care after Surgery

We typically put a gauze (“mustache”) dressing under the child's nose and tape it to the cheeks for as long as the drainage continues, typically up to 48 hours. If the dressing needs to be changed every hour or if there is a large amount of bleeding, call your physician.

How long will my septum hurt after a septoplasty? ›

Postoperative pain following a septoplasty is expected to be mild and limited to a few days after the operation. Chronic pain following the procedure is rare.

How do you flush your nose after septoplasty? ›

Rinse the nose 3-5 times daily with saline solution beginning the day after surgery. This can be accomplished with a Neil-Med Sinus Rinse bottle (available over-the-counter at most pharmacies).

Where are the stitches after septoplasty? ›

You may feel some dissolvable stitches at the front of one of the nostrils. These can be safely ignored and will disappear after a week or two. Nasal saline rinses are the most important tool in restoring air flow through the nose.

Can I sleep sideways after septoplasty? ›

Luckily, one week post-operatively, it is safe to resume sleeping on your back or side, provided that you are careful to avoid putting pressure on your nose. While it is safe to lie flat on your back or carefully on your side, it is important to understand that doing so may prolong swelling and bruising.

Can I go back to work after septoplasty? ›

In the case of a septoplasty, it usually takes about a month or two to completely heal. However, you can likely return to work and your regular schedule within five to seven days.

What will my nose look like after septoplasty? ›

Answer: Septoplasty has no external effect

The septum is INSIDE the nose. Septoplasty operations should NOT make a difference outside. If you see that a patient looks different after septoplasty, it's because sometime additional to the septoplasty was likely done by the surgeon and the patient.

When can I bend over after septoplasty? ›

Do not bend over or perform aerobic activities for at least a week. Exercise raises your pulse and blood pressure, which could may result in increase blood flow to the nose and lead to increase drainage. Your head should be elevated with extra pillows (a reclining chair may be used) for one week after discharge home.

What happens if you sneeze after a septoplasty? ›

Sneezing can cause further trauma to the fragile, yet sensitive nose and compromise the procedure's results. If possible, avoid sneezing through your nose for the first week or two during recovery to reduce pressure in your nose and airways to keep the sutures intact and minimize bleeding, swelling, and pain.

What makes septoplasty recovery easier? ›

Coping Tips for Septoplasty Recovery

It is also important to rest as much as possible to help your body heal. Keep well hydrated. Avoid hot or spicy food, which can irritate your nose and cause swelling. Eat a healthy diet rich in fiber to avoid constipation (straining can lead to nasal bleeding).

Are there stitches inside nose after septoplasty? ›

You will have stitches inside your nose. These stitches are dissolvable and do not need to be removed. Occasionally, a stitch will come loose and it will feel like a long thread. This should be cut rather than pulled out as it may affect your surgical result.

Can I drink coffee after septoplasty? ›

You can consume a normal diet but for the first 48 hrs do not have very hot or spicy foods or hot cups of tea or coffee to minimise the risk of bleeding (warm drinks ok).

How do you drink after septoplasty? ›

To reduce the risk of having a nose bleed (epistaxis), please note: Cold or warm drinks are recommended instead of hot drinks. Avoid alcohol and spicy foods for a period of 48 hours after nasal surgery.

Can I eat ice cream after nose surgery? ›

Too Hot or Cold Foods

Your nasal tissues will be sore and sensitive during the recovery process, so avoid foods that are too hot or too cold. Avoid anything with ice cream as well as any other frozen items to keep your nose from getting further irritated by the change in temperature.

How long will pain last after septoplasty? ›

One to Two Months. In the immediate period after septoplasty, be prepared for some pain and swelling. This should subside after a few weeks, but it may take months to experience the full benefit of your surgery.

How long do you stay in hospital after septoplasty? ›

How long will I stay in hospital? The operation takes between 45 minutes and an hour. It is usually performed as a day case and you are able to go home two to three hours after your operation. This depends on whether there are any packs in your nose and whether you wake up quite quickly after your anaesthetic.

What are the do's and don ts after septoplasty? ›

Key Precautions to Take For a Smooth Septoplasty Recovery
  • Avoid breathing through your nose. ...
  • Don't blow your nose. ...
  • Don't wear glasses. ...
  • Keep your head elevated above your heart. ...
  • Take your prescribed painkillers on a schedule, knowing that they will probably make you drowsy. ...
  • Use the nasal spray prescribed by your doctor.

How long do stitches stay in after septoplasty? ›

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.


1. Deviated Septum Surgery (Septoplasty) for Difficulty in Breathing
(Nucleus Medical Media)
2. What is a Septoplasty Procedure?
(Capital ENT & Sinus Center)
3. i got a nose job?! my recovery from septoplasty & turbinoplasty (ROUGH)
(Nena Shelby)
4. Full process inside the Surgery | General Anesthesia | Intubation | Waking up inside surgery
5. Septoplasty (GRAPHIC) - Deviated Septum Surgery
(Fauquier ENT)
6. 3 Tips to Speed Up Recovery from Nasal Surgery | Dr. Samir Undavia
(Samir Undavia, M.D.)


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