A nasal septum is the structure which supports the nose and divides the two nostrils by separating the left and right airways. The septum is covered by a thin layer of tissue membrane known as mucosa.
The mucosa covers and protects the septum and also helps in retaining moisture inside the nose. Throughout childhood, the septum might naturally bend in a small way usually in one direction.
However, the septum is straight in most people.
A deviated septum is a displacement of the walls between the nostrils and it often causes blockages. Enlarged bone structures known as turbinates might also block parts of the nose.
Nasal turbinates are long, curly bone structures which extend into the breathing passageways of the nostrils. In each nostril, the turbinates create four air passages in the nasal airway and occur on the nostrils’ lateral walls.
The turbinates are mostly covered by the mucosal tissue in the nose. When air is inhaled through the nose, the largest turbinates are responsible for filtering, heating and humidifying the air.
The mucosal lining the turbinates is also responsible for trapping and filtering airborne particles. This typically means that the turbinates are an essential part of the immune system that fights disease.
Nasal blockage is treated with a surgery called septoplasty. A surgeon can also perform a septoplasty to treat long-term sinusitis, remove nasal polyps and treat other conditions that block the airway. Sometimes surgeons may recommend a septoplasty to stop recurrent nosebleeds.
However, a septoplasty is only recommended by doctors after ruling out other treatments for nasal blockages.
Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction Procedure
A septoplasty is usually done under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon normally attempts to straighten bent cartilage and bone in the septum. They firstly lift the mucosa lining covering the cartilage and bone. Then they reshape the cartilage and bone, and sometimes remove some portions. After that, they put the lining back in place.
If the blockage is being caused by enlarged turbinates, the surgeon can attempt to shrink them with radiofrequency reduction. The surgeon may remove a portion of the turbinate in some other cases.
Results and Recovery
After surgery, up to 85% of individuals experience improvement in their nasal blockage.
Patients normally feel drowsy for a few hours following surgery and others might also feel nausea due to the anesthesia. Some may also feel pain from the procedure. Any side effects should be reported to the nurses or surgeon so that medication can be offered to soothe the symptoms.
Packing will likely be placed in both nostrils. This packing means that the patient will be breathing through the mouth straight after the procedure. The packing helps to stop any bleeding that might occur immediately after surgery.
Once the patient is discharged, the packing is removed. Splints are rarely placed in the nose but when they are, they’re usually removed seven days following the surgery.
The patient is usually discharged same day as the surgery if there are no complications. As your body recovers, some congestion and bleeding are expected but should resolve in about 2 weeks.
There are a few things to avoid so as to ease the recovery period. These include:
- Not blowing the nose for at least 2-3 days
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
- Avoiding returning to work too soon
- Avoiding crowds
At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service from initial consultation through to the final diagnosis and treatment and beyond. Our team of expert doctors and nurses are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.
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