Nasal Surgery: Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to correct a deviated septum. This is the thin wall of cartilage and bone that separates the nostrils. When the septum is significantly off-center, it can block airflow, leading to breathing difficulties, recurrent sinus infections, and other related issues. Septoplasty attempts to straighten the septum as much as possible and open the airway by removing the deviated portion and repairing the remaining bone and cartilage.

What to expect during septoplasty

This surgery repairs a blockage inside the nose caused by a deviated septum. With a deviated septum, there's a problem with the wall that divides the nose into 2 chambers. A deviated septum may block air coming through 1 or both nostrils. This makes it harder for you to breathe through your nose. During septoplasty, the surgeon makes cuts (incisions) inside the nose. Then the surgeon trims, reshapes, moves, or removes cartilage and sometimes bone from the septum.

Front view of face showing sinuses and deviated septum repair, before and after.


As with any surgery, nasal surgery has some risks. Your healthcare provider will discuss risks and possible complications with you. These may include:



Decreased sense of smell

Temporary numbness of teeth and nose

A hole in your septum

Collection of blood in nasal spaces

Change in shape of nose.

After septoplasty

After septoplasty, you’ll be taken to the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) to be monitored as you wake up from anesthesia. Your experience may be as follows:

  • You may have packing material inside your nose. This reduces bleeding and helps with healing. You may also have bandages (dressings) on the outside of your nose.

  • It’s normal to have some mucus and blood drain from your nose. Until packing is removed, you will have to breathe through your mouth.

  • You may have some swelling or bruising around your eyes.

  • Expect some throat dryness and irritation.

  • Pain medicine will be prescribed as needed. Talk with your healthcare provider about medicine you shouldn't take after your procedure.

Follow-up care

You’ll need to follow up with your healthcare provider after your surgery. Here's what to expect:

  • Any packing, splint, or dressings will likely be removed. You may feel mild pain and bleed a little when this is done.

  • After the splint or packing is removed, you’ll most likely breathe better than you did before surgery.

  • You may have minor numbness, pain, swelling, and a little stiffness under the tip of the nose.

  • In a few days, the inside of your nose may swell. Or a scab or crust may make it hard to breathe through your nose again. Leave the scab alone. Your healthcare provider can remove it. Using saline (irrigation or aerosol) regularly as directed after surgery helps to reduce the amount of crusting at each visit.

  • Contact your provider if you have any questions or concerns.

© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames by WebMD Ignite