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Septoplasty is a procedure to correct structural defects of the nasal septum (the thin wall of cartilage that divides the nasal cavities), including a deviated septum.

Deviated septum occurs when the nasal septum is off center or crooked. This can happen at birth, as part of normal growth during a child's development, or due to an injury (like a broken nose).The most common symptom of a deviated septum is difficulty breathing through the nose, but it can also cause other issues like frequent sinus infections.

Septoplasty is not the same as rhinoplasty. Unlike rhinoplasty, which is a cosmetic procedure, septoplasty does not reshape the nose.

Do I need septoplasty?

Problems with the nasal septum may not need to be treated. Septoplasty may be recommended if you have a problem with the nasal septum that affects your quality of life.

Talk to your primary care doctor or an ear, nose and throat specialist in the following cases:

  • You are having trouble breathing through your nose
  • You are suffering from sleep apnea, a condition that can raise your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, depression and other health problems
  • You have uncontrollable nose bleeds

Septoplasty is often done at the same time as rhinoplasty.

What are the risks of septoplasty?

As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications during and after septoplasty, include the following:

  • Bleeding, including excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Septal perforation (a hole in the nasal septum). This is a rare complication, but if it happens, you may need surgery to repair the septum. Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Rush have extensive experience treating nasal septal perforation.
  • A decreased sense of smell
  • Temporary numbness around the upper gums or teeth

Your surgeon will discuss these risks — as well as the risks of anesthesia — with you before the procedure.

There is also a chance that your symptoms will not completely go away, even after surgery. If that happens, your surgeon will explain your options.

Why choose Rush for septoplasty

  • Accurate diagnosis: Ear, nose and throat specialists at Rush will do a comprehensive evaluation to make sure you receive the right treatment for your specific condition, whether you have a deviated septum or another structural problem within the nose. If necessary, they will collaborate with or refer you to other specialists who can help.
  • Specialized care: Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Rush are dedicated to treating only conditions affecting the head and neck, including deviated septum, nasal septal perforation, and conditions that affect the shape of the nose. This kind of highly focused expertise is not available everywhere.
  • Focus on form and function: If you are also having a rhinoplasty, your surgeon will do everything possible to ensure that you are completely happy with your new nose — not only how it looks, but how well you're able to breathe through it.