Nasal Septum Repair: Before Your Surgery

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What is nasal septum repair?

Nasal septum repair is a type of nose surgery. It fixes the wall of cartilage between the nostrils. This is called the septum.

Surgery to straighten the septum is called septoplasty, submucous resection of the septum, or septal reconstruction. The surgery may be done along with other procedures to treat chronic sinusitis, inflammation, or bleeding. Sometimes it can help sleep apnea. And it may be done to allow access into the nose to remove nasal polyps.

Doctors usually do this surgery through the inside of the nose. In most cases, no cut is made on the outside of the nose.

To do the surgery, the doctor cuts the outer membrane that lines your nose. Then the doctor lifts the membrane away from the cartilage wall. Next, the cartilage is reshaped or moved, or both. Then the doctor puts the membrane back.

After the surgery, you may have splints and packing inside and outside your nose. These help hold the cartilage in place while it heals.

Most people go home a few hours after surgery. You can probably go back to work or school in a few days and your normal routine in about 3 weeks. But this depends on your job and how the surgery went. It may take 1 to 2 months before you feel completely normal again.

After this surgery, your doctor will want to see you again to check how well your nose is healing.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
    Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
    Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
    The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
    You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
    The surgery will take 1 to 2 hours.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.