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The nose is supported by a nasal septum that is composed of cartilage and bone. It also separates the nostrils and forms a wall between them. It is not common to find a perfectly straight nasal septum and in most people it may be slightly deviated, crooked, or broken.

Slight imperfections in the nasal septum do not usually cause problems, but for some people, a deviated septum can cause breathing problems, snoring, sleep apnea, and a cosmetically crooked nose.

A deviated septum may be a condition that begins from birth (congenital defect) , but it is more often associated with normal growth during puberty.Sometimes, the nasal septum may be fractured, causing deviation or a crooked nose.

What is Septoplasty?

Surgical reconstruction of a deviated nasal septum is called septoplasty or septal reconstruction. Since this condition is often associated with other conditions, septoplasty may be done with other procedures to treat breathing problems, sleep apnea, chronic sinusitis or nasal polyps.

The surgeon may use a lighted instrument called an endoscope, which is thin enough to go through the nostrils and allow the surgeon to see the septum. He makes an incision through the soft tissues and proceeds to straighten or trim the cartilage of the bent septum under local or general anesthesia. After reconstruction, the nose is packed with gauze to prevent further bleeding. You may feel drowsy because of the anesthesia, which will wear off in a few hours. If the procedure was done on an out-patient basis, you may be allowed to go home on the same day when you have recovered from the effects of anesthesia. However, you may need a companion to drive you home. You will also need to breathe through the mouth until the surgeon takes off the nasal pack and dressing after a few days.

Aside from pain, bleeding and bruising, you may experience numbness, nasal drainage, fever or infection after surgery. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics for infection and painkiller for your other symptoms. Infection can result in formation of a nasal abscess, but more serious complications include septicemia (widespread infection), endocarditis (involving the heart) or meningitis (in the brain). Call a doctor when you experience excessive bleeding, fever or difficulty breathing.

Other common complications include septal perforation, septal dislocation, and nasal deformity. These can lead to airway problems and visible deformities of the nose. Less common complications include loss of smell and blindness. Additional procedures may be done to correct some of these complications to improve outcome.

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