More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Septoplasty

#life 3 min.

I had a septoplasty done three months ago. When talking to people I realized that many know they should get it done at some point, but keep putting it off (just like I did). If that’s you, here’s my experience to hopefully push you over the line.

Septoplasty is a common surgical procedure, done to improve nasal breathing by fixing a deviated septum (the wall between nostrils). You might be recommended this because you snore, suffer from constant stuffy nose, or have some other breathing problem. The procedure, performed through the nostrils, leaves no external scars and has no aesthetic impact. Often, turbinates are reduced in the same procedure, as they can enlarge due to a deviated septum. Techniques vary by country, so consult your doctor for specific details. I know in the UK and some other countries they put in some splints and let you go home on the same day. Meanwhile I had to stay in the hospital for three nights - two of them with a packed nose.

You’re under a full anesthesia for the whole procedure. Only after the procedure I found out that means your body actually stops breathing and a machine pumps oxygen for you. I still don’t know how I feel about this fact. Anyway, my experience was just perfect, felt like the best afternoon nap I’ve ever had.

The worst part is waking up with a packed nose. It’s fine at first, but the feeling of pressure compounds over prolonged time. You obviously have to breathe through the mouth. Eating and drinking hurts, as swallowing puts pressure on your nose and ears. Your eyes constantly tear up, because tear ducts do not work properly under pressure. Eventually you might start feeling your nose pulsating, at which point you should ask for painkillers to help relax and have a nap.

The morning when they took out the tampons felt like Christmas. By this time you are so tired from the constant pressure that you are not bothered by how nasty the procedure is. I had some fancy inflatable tampons, which supposedly come out much easier. Everyone gets them, because the alternative is just plain gauze bandage. People who use the regular stuff supposedly faint during this procedure. I was not too curious to find out for myself.

Once the tampons are out, it’s easy sailing. You have to gently clean your nose with salty water, apply some oils to prevent excessive scabs, and then just generally prevent bleeding.

If the procedure went well, you will feel the improvement immediately once they remove packing. You will still get a stuffy nose occasionally, but that’s just because there’s still a lot going on inside the nostrils. It will get better day by day. You should not have to worry about bleeding after two weeks, and you should be fully healed after about a month.

Worth noting - at least for me, in the first 1-2 months my nose was painfully sensitive to cold. Thankfully that faded away now. Maybe choose a date when it’s at least 10 Celsius outside, if you have a choice at all.

Three months after procedure I can say the difference isn’t too dramatic, but definitely meaningful. Previously, my nose would frequently get stuffy for no apparent reason, and I couldn’t do anything to help it. Now that just doesn’t happen anymore. But the biggest improvement was with sleep. I go to sleep and wake breathing through both nostrils, which was almost never the case before. I was hopeful it would also help with my teeth grinding, but unfortunately it did not.

Overall, a few days of discomfort is completely worth it. The only thing I regret is not doing it sooner.

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Est. 2011