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Septoplasty Turbinoplasty Deviated Septum Surgery

The nasal septum is a bony and cartilaginous partition dividing the nose into equal left and right chambers.  Occasionally, due to injury or as a result of faulty growth and development, the nasal septum becomes deviated to one side or the other. This deviation may result in a number of problems for the patient including; nosebleeds, headaches, difficulty breathing, ear infections and sinus infections.

When any of these symptoms occur as a result of a nasal septal deviation, one treatment option may be to surgically straighten the nasal septum.  Surgical straightening of the nasal septum is performed while the patient is asleep under general anesthesia.

The lateral walls of the nose provide a partition between the maxillary sinuses and the nasal passages. There are three turbinates on each lateral wall. They are thin bones shaped like scrolls and are covered by tissue with a rich blood supply. They are often called the radiators of the nose, as the tissue adjusts its thickness under varying atmospheric conditions to warm air, moisten it and filter it.

The turbinates commonly compensate for irregularities of the septum by decreasing or increasing their size to maintain optimal width of the airspace.  However, if the turbinates are too large, they can contribute to the problems and decrease airspace.

Frequently patients who have a deviated septum also have large turbinates. A procedure called turbinoplasty, done in conjunction with septoplasty, will correct this problem. Incisions are made inside the nose and the turbinate bones are trimmed in order to increase the size of the airspace.  The tissues overlying the turbinates may be constricted through use of a number of methods, bony portion removed, or both.

The nose may or may not be packed at the time of surgery.  Surgical plastic splints are placed against each side of the nasal septum and sewn in at the time of surgery. These splints are removed in five to ten days in the clinic with minimal discomfort.

Infection is a possible but rare complication, as the nose is a contaminated area and is impossible to sterilize prior to surgery. However, infection is extremely rare especially since antibiotics are routinely given during and following the procedure. Some bleeding is expected after the above procedures, but is infrequently excessive, and usually tapers off over the first few days. If bleeding cannot be stopped, call our office or go to the emergency department.

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