Septoplasty / Rhinoplasty / Septorhinoplasty
If there is a restriction of airflow that is caused by a structural problem within the nose then this can be improved by undergoing an operation. The cause of the structural issue may be from trauma to the nose (see sports or trauma related injury to the nose) or merely how the nose has grown from birth. The type of operation depends on where the structural issue is and this will be assessed at the initial consultation. A septoplasty is an operation to straighten the cartilage partition in the centre of the nose. A rhinoplasty involves altering the outside structures of the nose whereas a septorhinoplasty combines altering the inside and outside structures of the nose. The operations are usually performed under a general anaesthetic whilst the patient is asleep. These operations can be performed inside the nose with no cuts in the skin but also can be performed with an ‘open’ approach where a small cut is made at the front of the nose to access the framework of the nose more fully.
The structures of the nose can also be adjusted to change how the nose may look. No nose is exactly the same and the majority of noses are not straight or symmetrical. Some people have a nose that they are not happy with and adjusting the framework of a nose with an operation can improve the appearance.
What to expect
It is important that an individual’s expectations are realistic when considering functional (to improve the airflow) or cosmetic surgery to the nose. This will therefore be discussed in detail during a consultation so that a comprehensive and achievable treatment plan is established. The risks and benefits of the operation will also be discussed as well as the post-operative care package and advice. During the initial consultation, photos will be taken at various angles and the options will be discussed depending on preference and the problems identified. There will then be a second consultation to go through the consent process further to ensure that both the patient and surgeon fully understand what is possible and all questions are answered. The operation will nearly always be performed whilst the patient is asleep and is nearly always performed as a day-case procedure.
Clear post-operative instructions will be provided. This includes how to wash the nose out with salty water (nasal douche) twice daily which is very important to help the healing process. It is rare for someone to need packing within the nose and if used then small absorbable dressings are used so that they do not require removal. These dressings can be simply washed out with the nasal wash. A ‘splint’ is a hard dressing used to reduce swelling and is stuck to the skin of the nose for the first week. An appointment will be made at 1 week after the operation to remove the nasal splint and the stitches at the front of the nose if an ‘open’ procedure was used. The nose is very swollen at this point and it is important to realise this as many people are shocked by how much swelling has occurred. The swelling reduces as the days and weeks progress but this can last for a few months in some cases. Patience is the key as the swelling will go down in time.
Further appointments will be made afterwards to check that all is healing well and photos will be taken at each stage. Follow up continues until a year afterwards, sometimes longer.