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How Is a Deviated Septum Corrected Through Surgery?

deviated septum surgery

Story at-a-glance -

  • Septoplasty is a surgical procedure aimed to improve the airflow through the nasal passage by straightening the deviated septum
  • Some patients also opt to have rhinoplasty done along with septoplasty. Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves reshaping the cartilage and bones of the nose to alter its appearance and/or size

If you have a mildly deviated septum that isn't causing severe symptoms, then you can search for noninvasive treatment options to help manage the symptoms, if needed.

However, if the deviation is so severe that it's almost impossible for you to breathe, one of the treatment options is surgery. The surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum is called septoplasty.1

What Happens if You Undergo Septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure aimed to improve the airflow through the nasal passage by straightening the septum. The surgery is performed under local or general anesthesia, and it usually takes 30 to 90 minutes to complete, depending on the severity of the condition.2

During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision on the side of your nose before lifting up the mucous membrane to access the septum. The deviated septum is then adjusted into the right position. Extra pieces of bone or cartilage may need to be removed to make sure that the septum is properly aligned. The mucous membrane is then repositioned and stitched into place.3,4,5

Splints and nasal packing may be used after the surgery to support the septum and prevent postoperative bleeding. A septoplasty is considered an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day that your septum is fixed. Keep in mind that your nose will be swollen and painful for a few days.6,7

Some patients also opt to have a rhinoplasty done along with septoplasty. This surgical procedure involves reshaping the cartilage and bones of the nose to alter its appearance and/or size.8

Recovering From Septoplasty

After undergoing a septoplasty, it may be a day or two before your doctor removes the packing from your nose. This doesn't mean that your nose is fully healed, though. The recovery time can be slow, as it can take up to a year for the cartilage and nasal tissues to fully heal.9

To speed up the healing process, you should avoid strenuous activities that may increase your chances of bleeding, such as running, playing contact sports or lifting weights. You should also keep your head elevated when sleeping to prevent your nose from swelling. Avoid blowing your nose, and wear clothes you can easily pull  over your head to help promote quicker recovery.10,11

Risks to Consider Before Undergoing Septoplasty

As with most surgical procedures, a septoplasty can have several risks, including:12,13,14

Excessive bleeding


Altered nose shape (different from what you expected)

Perforation of the septum

Decreased sense of smell

Discoloration of the nose


Adverse reaction to anesthesia

You should also keep in mind that the success rate of a septoplasty may vary from one patient to another. While most people experience improvements with their breathing after undergoing this procedure, it's still possible for symptoms to occur after the surgery.

There are cases where a second surgery is needed, as patients may not be satisfied with the results of their initial septoplasty.15 Before you undergo this surgical procedure, make sure that you consider its risks first, and talk with your doctor about the possible complications that it may cause.


Deviated Septum: An Introduction

What Is a Deviated Septum?

Deviated Septum Symptoms

Deviated Septum Causes

Deviated Septum Surgery

Deviated Septum Treatment

Deviated Septum Prevention

Deviated Septum Diet

Deviated Septum FAQ

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