Although septoplasty is a commonly performed nose surgery, it has variable results.
Although it’s commonly performed, there are few clinical studies showing how effective this surgery actually is. In one study, people were asked about their symptoms one month after surgery. Overall, they reported less nasal obstruction, mouth breathing, stuffiness, headache and snoring.
In another study, only 50% of patients said they still experienced benefits from the surgery after 2 to 3 years. People who are most likely to benefit are those with a deviation in the anterior (front part) of their septum.
Reviews of the available studies found that there’s sufficient evidence to show that septoplasty improves nasal airflow, so it’s considered a beneficial procedure.
While healing is usually fairly quick, cartilage and other nasal tissues can take up to a year to fully settle into their new shape. Sometimes, the cartilage and nasal tissues continue to move and eventually your nose becomes blocked again. If this happens, you may need a second (‘revision’) surgery.
As with any medical procedure there are some potential risks. The chance of complications depends on the exact type of procedure that you’re having and other factors including your general health. Complications after septoplasty are higher if you smoke.
Risks of septoplasty include:
- infection requiring antibiotics
- continued or recurrent nasal obstruction
- temporary numbness in the nose and teeth (which occasionally persists)
- adhesions (scar tissue)
- decreased sense of smell or taste
- perforation of your nasal septum
- change in the appearance of your nose
- cerebrospinal fluid leak (extremely rare).
Tip: Ask your surgeon about the results and risks associated with your procedure. Also ask about their own rates of patient satisfaction and the rate of complications following the procedures they’ve performed.