What To Expect During Septoplasty Recovery

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deformity of the nasal airway, commonly known as a deviated septum.

Typical Septoplasty Recovery Check List:

As with any medical procedure, Septoplasty can present many individual challenges. There is no way to know for sure how your surgery and recovery will go but there are a few concerns that are common to everybody that has deviated septum correction surgery. Here is a list of tips from one website that covers most all the typical questions most patients have:

  • During first week of deviated septum surgery recovery you must avoid breathing by nose, try breathing through your mouth.
  •  Avoid blowing your nose for a week to clear any drainage, instead you must sniff. This is essential because the tissues are not yet healed, hence, blowing can cause nose bleeding. Also, keep your mouth open while you sneeze
  • Next tip is to rest. Though it’s your nose that is operated, you need to skip any strenuous physical activities like exercise, sports, etc. for 2-3 weeks. Also, avoid driving.
  • You can use contact lenses, but do not wear glasses for about 3-5 weeks.
  • One of the important septoplasty recovery tips is to avoid bending down for the first 2-3 days. Bending will take your head below your heart level, this might increase the swelling and bleeding.
  • Keeping your head elevated by using 2-3 pillows when you lie down will help reduce nasal drainage.
  • Airline travel must also be avoided for a few weeks after septoplasty.
  • Your doctor will commonly recommend the application of ice packs over the nose in order to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • One of the important recovery tips is to take the painkillers as prescribed. These will help you control the post-operative pain. Also, keep in mind these will sometimes make you feel drowsy, so try to just rest after you take them.
  • A nasal spray will be prescribed by doctor for septoplasty recovery to keep the nostrils moist and to decrease bleeding and drainage. Most of these might be prescribed to be used 2-3 times a day. Depending on the type of spray, a doctor will prescribe the frequency and period for which you need to continue its use.
  • Visiting your doctor for regular follow-ups is an important part of septoplasty recovery process. They will check to see if there are any complications and prescribe changes in medications, as needed.
  • You can slowly resume your normal routine in a period of 2 months. The doctor will tell you, when you can resume the strenuous physical activities you were asked to avoid for a few weeks.

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Is Septoplasty Recommended for Me?

First of all, do you have problems breathing through your nose? Is your quality of life restricted by low endurance due to a deviated septum (crooked nose cartilage), or obstructed nasal passages?  Do you need relief for heavy and unnecessary nosebleeds? These may seem like silly questions if you think everyone deals with these issues.

There is no reason to suffer needlessly from nosebleeds, or chronic sinus problems. There is help with the septoplasty procedure or turbinectomy. Turbinectomy refers to the removal or reconstruction of the turbinate areas inside the nasal cavities. These turbinate areas inside the sinuses can become obstructive and hinder breathing.

There are some people born with an abnormal septum. The nose cartilage can also become malformed due to injury or a broken nose which can create abnormalities within the sinuses or nasal air passages. A septoplasty does not necessarily change the outer physical appearance of the nose as referred to a “nose job” or rhinoplasty. This  procedure Deviated Septum Imageis a medically necessary procedure. A septoplasty may be necessary when a cosmetic rhinoplasty is performed and can be conveniently done at the same time.

What is a septoplasty?

Sinuses and nasal air passages imageA septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deformity of the nasal airway, or deviated septum. Nasal airway surgery, or septoplasty, can most always be performed without any external incisions. The procedure usually takes about an hour and is performed through the nostrils with the patient under anesthesia.

For more information on a less invasive surgical treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis check out this page on Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.


What should I expect the day of septoplasty surgery?

It is very important to follow the directions given to you by your doctor’s office about what to bring with you or what to do prior to arriving. Usually you are instructed to bring  any paperwork or medication lists with you to the surgical facility.  It is best to wear loose fitting clothing that is comfortable and doesn’t have to be pulled on or off over the head since this will be uncomfortable. Besides making sure you cleanse the face well with soap and water prior to arriving at the surgical facility, it is also important to not wear lotions, creams or makeup. Most septoplasty surgical procedures can be performed in an outpatient facility, and the patient can usually go home the same day.

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The anesthesiologist will sedate the patient prior to surgery so the actual procedure is pain free. It is important, however, to not eat or drink for the allotted time instructed before surgery to eliminate complications with the anesthesia. Post surgery pain can be treated with non aspirin type pain reliever such as tylenol – no aspirin or ibuprofen due to the bleeding risks. If you are allergic to acetaminophen check with your doctor prior to day of surgery to be prepared with pain reliever post surgery. The patient may be prescribed narcotics for pain, so driving is not recommended while being administered.

There is some pain and aggravation associated with septoplasty recovery. The packing or gauze dressing inside the nasal cavity can be frustrating. It does take some patience for the effects to be tolerable and is usually removed within 24 hours up to several days.

All septoplasty recovery is not the same. The time varies from patient to patient depending on the severity of the individual surgery. The individual results depend on several factors.

  1. Following the directions of the tending physician is very important.
  2. Taking pain medication as prescribed helps alleviate some discomfort.
  3. Taking all necessary precautions to limit activities during recovery reduces risks.

What post surgical risks should I watch for?

Fever that can’t be controlled with the prescribed pain reliever should be reported to your doctor. Any sudden spike in temperature should be treated by your physician. Watch for any sudden or uncontrollable bleeding not easily controlled by ice compress, light pressure or elevation. It is best to be prepared to take it easy for several days after surgery to lessen the risks of unexpected bleeding or fever.

Be attentive to sharp, or persistent pain not easily treated with the pain reliever. Some mild to moderate redness and swelling is normal after surgery, but be aware of excessive redness or swelling around the nose or eyes which can be an indicator of inflammation.


Know when to call your doctor. Don’t suffer needlessly during septoplasty recovery. Your doctor can help and wants to know about your discomfort and problems.



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