Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct defects or deformities of the septum, the partition between the two nostrils. Commonly, the procedure is performed to correct a deviated septum. While a small deviation of the septum is commonplace, if the condition is more severe it may impede airflow through the nostrils. This may cause difficulty with nasal breathing and poor nasal drainage from the sinuses, both of which are problematic. During a septoplasty, the surgeon straightens the septum and repositions it to the center of the nose. The procedure may involve removing a small part of the septum itself.
In adults, it is composed of both cartilage and bone. The function of the nasal septum is to support the mucous membranes of the nose and to regulate air flow.
A number of medical conditions may indicate a need for the procedure including nasal air passage obstruction, a deviated septum, tumors, chronic, uncontrolled nosebleeds or the presence of polyps. A septoplasty may also be performed in conjunction with a rhinoplasty in order to ensure that the reshaping of the nose does not result in a reduction of the amount of breathing space or in conjunction with sinus surgery to assist in post-surgical drainage.
Patients who have had a septoplasty can usually return home the same day or the morning after surgery. Risks or complications are relatively rare. During recovery, patients may experience bleeding, swelling, bruising, or discoloration.