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What is nasal septum?

A nasal septum is the partition inside the nose which separates the two nostrils. It is made up of bone at the back and cartilage in the front and is straight and in the middle of the nose.

What is septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct the deviated nasal septum, defects or deformities of the septum. These may be congenital or develop as a result of injury. The procedure is done under general anaesthesia. For anterior and minor deviations, a local anaesthetic is all that is required.

Reasons for septoplasty

  • Severe nasal airway obstruction which results in mouth breathing, sleep apnoea, recurrent nasal infections and protruding teeth of the upper jaw
  • Septal spur headache: which is caused due to impaction in the nose
  • Uncontrollable nose bleed
  • Deformities of the nasal septum
  • To create access to sinuses during FESS (a surgery done for sinusitis)

What is the procedure?

This is a day-care procedure. A cut is made inside the wall of one side of the nose, the mucous membrane is lifted up and any part blocking the area is removed. The mucous membrane is repositioned either with stitches or nasal packs. ENT surgeons with additional training often do this using a contemporary technique with a nasal endoscope.


  • Improved nasal breathing
  • Reduction in frequency of infection of the sinuses, ears and nasal cavity

Pre operative instructions

  • Assessment of difference in airflow between the two nostrils
  • Fasting from about 6-8 hours prior to surgery
  • To stop taking blood thinners 5-7 days prior to surgery
  • You will be asked not to take your diabetes medicines on the morning of the surgery but medications for hypertension and thyroid dysfunctions can be taken with a sip of water.

Post-operative care

  • The patient will have to breathe through the mouth when the nasal pack is in place.
  • All dressings are removed in a day or two.
  • The head end should be elevated when lying down for the first 48 hours.
  • Small amount of bloody discharge is normal but excessive bleeding should be reported to the doctor immediately.
  • Antibiotics are given only if the pack is retained for over 24 hours.
  • Avoid strenuous activity for two weeks after surgery.

Risks and complications though rare may include but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding: during the surgery and anytime in the first two weeks after surgery. Delayed bleeding may require re-admission to hospital to undergo another surgery to stop bleeding.
  • Infection, which may require antibiotics and can cause bleeding
  • Recurrence of symptoms
  • Abnormal healing of external wounds with scar formation
  • Change in shape of the nose
  • Impaired sense of smell and taste
  • Abnormal scarring inside the nose requiring further surgery
  • Cerebrospinal fluid / orbital haematoma / septal abscess / haematoma
  • May cause increase in snoring and sleep disturbance due to nose block immediately after surgery but resolves with time and healing
  • Rarely, septal perforation leading to a whistling sound during breathing. This may need a surgery.