Cover image for septoplasty and aftercare

Septoplasty is the procedure to straighten the deviated nasal septum. The full benefits of septoplasty can be expected only after a few months. It is performed on an outpatient basis so that the patient can go back home on the same day. But often after discharge, they are unable to figure out how to take care of the nose to ensure minimum pain and discomfort during the recovery.

This blog will guide you in recovering faster after a septoplasty. In addition to recovery, it also discusses the time period to recover fully as well as when to visit the doctor if there are any specific symptoms.

What are the risks that can occur during septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a procedure that generally involves very low risks. The complications occur only in rare cases but the patient should be aware of it. Some of the risks that can occur during septoplasty are-

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Perforation of the Septum
  • Numbness of the tooth and nose
  • Impaired sense of taste or smell
  • Pain in the face
  • Change in voice
  • Swelling and bruising around the eyes
  • Leakage of spinal fluid
  • Toxic shock syndrome

What to expect after septoplasty during the recovery?

After a septoplasty, people generally experience the following.

Scar

Since a septoplasty is carried out through the nostrils, people don’t have to worry about any visible scars. With the most advanced treatment for septoplasty, there are no external cuts made in the nose. After the ENT doctor has straightened the septum, they use dissolvable stitches to close the wound. This can cause a pinching sensation until the nose fully recovers. As the name suggests, dissolvable stitches do not require removing them manually. 

Discomfort

Following a septoplasty, the doctor puts a packing on the nose that blocks breathing through the nose. Hence, you’ll be forced to breathe through the mouth repeatedly that makes your mouth dry. 

Even after the dressing is removed, the nose continues to feel blocked. Dryness and crusting inside the nose are normal as the nose heals. To get relief from these, rinse your nose with saline solution.    

Fatigue

The body uses energy to heal after surgery. This leaves the person feeling lethargic and tired. Get enough rest to feel more energetic and healthy. 

Mild pain

Similar to any other surgery, some pain may be associated with septoplasty too. As long as the packing stays in the nose, you won’t be able to feel any pain. But as soon as it is removed, the area around the nose and the sinuses can ache. Use painkillers in such cases.  

How to take care of yourself after septoplasty? 

After you have been discharged from the hospital, it is of utmost importance that you clear doubts related to the following-

  • The procedure to take care of the nose after surgery
  • Amount of permitted physical activity
  • Restrictions on driving
  • Warning symptoms to look out for that require immediate medical attention
  • Changes to the medication and their proper dosage
  • Exercises that can be carried out
  • Management of the pain
  • The procedure to reduce the risk of infection near the wounds 

The initial days of recovery after a septoplasty are crucial as the wound is still fresh and requires a lot of attention and care. Therefore, follow the below-mentioned tips to soothe out the pain and discomfort.

To-Take-Care-of-Yourself-After-Septoplasty

  1. Rest properly throughout the first day.
  2. Make sure that you do not rub or touch the nose by mistake.
  3. Even if it feels congested, do not blow your nose as this can cause bleeding.
  4. Sneeze through the mouth instead of the nose
  5. To reduce the pain and swelling, apply an ice pack or a few ice cubes wrapped in clean cloth or towel near the wound.
  6. To reduce swelling and congestion, put two pillows under the head when you sleep at night.
  7. Avoid activities that might make you fall such as bending over or playing any sports.
  8. Avoid visiting dusty or smoky places. 
  9. Do not take a shower within 24 hours of the surgery.
  10. Stay indoors or prevent going to a crowded place to prevent catching an infection.
  11. Do not put pressure on the face while doing activities such as straining during bowel movements. 

Also Read: Structure of Nose Before and After Septoplasty- A Pictorial Representation

What activities to avoid after a Septoplasty?

  • Do not fly or swim anywhere in the initial first 2 weeks of the recovery.
  • Take at least 1 week off from work to recover from the surgery. If your work involves performing strenuous activities, then you should take a longer period of leave.
  • Avoid exercising and limiting any exertion for at least 2 weeks following the surgery,.
  • Make sure there is no bending, lifting, or straining.
  • Before starting to exercise, consult with your doctor.

Management of bleeding

In the first few weeks after septoplasty, it is normal to have some bleeding and discharge. To stop the bleeding, you can sit up and tilt the head forward. In this posture, breathe through the mouth and spit any blood that comes in the mouth. Make sure that you don’t blow the nose absolutely. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes, then visit the doctor immediately.

Management of congestion

After septoplasty surgery, the tissues swell that can make the nose stuffy. The swelling takes almost 2 weeks to get fully cure. Until that time, the nose might feel blocked. This can cause disruption while sleeping. At night, you can put two pillows under your head to relieve congestion.  

Management of pain

For several days after a septoplasty, you might have a feeling of pressure and pain in the nose. Take painkillers as prescribed by the doctor or anesthetist. 

Keeping the sinuses clear

During a septoplasty, the sinuses can inflame which can lead to congestion in the nasal airways. In such cases, the patient can use a sinus rinse and saline nasal spray prescribed by the doctor. Sometimes sinus irrigation also works. This will clear the congestion by removing any debris or extra mucus in the nose.

Avoiding infections

Avoid visiting social gatherings or crowded places as the risk of getting an infection is much higher in these places. Stay away from people who are suffering from colds or chest infections. Make sure you don’t go near people who smoke as this can irritate the nose and delay the recovery process. 

How long does it take to fully recover after septoplasty?

Generally, it takes a day or two for the patient to resume work after septoplasty surgery with the most advanced treatment. The patient fully recovers from a septoplasty in a week. 

When to go to the hospital?

If you have the following symptoms, visit the doctor immediately.

  • Severe headache or stiffness in the neck
  • Fever
  • Continuous bleeding from the nose that doesn’t stop even after 15 minutes.
  • Discharge from the nose that persists for more than 7 days

Read more: How to clean nose after Rhinoplasty?

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FAQ

How many days should I take leave from work for septoplasty?

Take a week off from work for septoplasty. Within 2 to 5 days, you'll be able to return to your daily activities. However, the nose may still be sore and stuffy.

Can I sleep on my side after septoplasty?

It is best if you sleep on your back with the head elevated after septoplasty. This will reduce congestion.

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