Cover image for septoplasty and rhinoplasty

I often come across patients who come to me with complaints of blocked noses or headaches that they think can be cured with a nose job.


What they fail to understand is that nasal congestion can be due to structural deformity or other causes. The surgery to straighten a crooked nose is quite different from the surgery that is performed for the overall appearance of the nose. 


Let’s understand both these procedures and their differences in detail. This will help you choose better which one to opt for when you have a problem. 

What is Septoplasty?

The surgical procedure to straighten a deviated septum is known as Septoplasty.  This is performed to treat chronic sinusitis, clear out nasal polyps and conditions that develop due to a deviated nasal septum. 


Patients also ask me “What is a Septum?”.  A septum is a thin wall made of bone and cartilage that divides the nose into two separate nostrils. 


Sometimes the nose can bend due to any injury or simply birth defect which results in a deviated septum. A deviated septum is usually the cause behind the crooked nose or deformed nose. 


It is estimated that 80 percent of people around the world have a deviated septum. Although it doesn’t cause any problems in the majority of cases, some people have severe breathing problems or even sinusitis due to extreme deformity. 


In simple words, it can be put that during this surgery the ENT surgeon straightens the bent cartilage or bone in the septum. This whole surgery is completed under the influence of anesthesia. 


In addition to the actual procedure, a septoplasty requires preparation. It is necessary to discuss with an ENT doctor regarding any blood-thinning medicines that can cause excessive bleeding. This is necessary to reduce the risk of bleeding. 


Once the surgery is complete, the nostrils are fully packed so that there is no bleeding from the nostrils. This makes the patient breathe through the mouth. 


During the discharge, the packing is removed and instead splints in the nose are placed. The recovery after a septoplasty usually takes a week. 


It is quite normal to expect some congestion and bleeding during the recovery. But if the bleeding doesn’t seem to stop, visit the doctor immediately. 


The recovery after septoplasty is as important as the surgery. Here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind for easy recovery-

  • Avoid blowing the nose for a couple of days
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Restrict smoking
  • Avoid crowded places  

Also Read: Deviated Nasal Septum Treatment by Yoga

What is Rhinoplasty?

Commonly known as a nose job, the surgical procedure to change the shape or structure of the nose is known as rhinoplasty. This improves the functions of the nose such as breathing easily.


Some of the common reasons for getting a nose job done are mentioned below-

  • Repair the nose after an injury
  • Correct a birth defect
  • Cure breathing problem
  • Aesthetic reasons 


Rhinoplasty is generally performed for two reasons- enhance facial harmony or the proportions of the nose. 


The changes that an ENT doctor performs during rhinoplasty are-

  • Size of the nose in proportion to the size of the face
  • Width at the bridge of the nose 
  • Size or position of the nostrils
  • Visible humps or depressions on the bridge
  • Tip of the nose that is bulbous, drooping, upturned or hooked
  • Large, wide or upturned nostrils
  • The symmetry of the nose 


It is important to consult with a surgeon openly before going for rhinoplasty surgery. Some things to consider are past rhinoplasty surgeries, the overall health or the risks involved with the surgery.


Similar to the procedure of septoplasty, the surgeon reshapes the inner bone and cartilage to cure or straighten the nose. This is also performed under the influence of general anesthesia which means you’ll be asleep throughout the surgery. 


To keep the nose in place, splints are placed which can be removed after a week. It is normal to experience some swelling and bruising around the eyes after the surgery in the initial days of the recovery. It takes about a week to fully recover after a rhinoplasty. 

Differences between Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty 

Both septoplasty and rhinoplasty are mainly performed to get relief from issues in the nose.

Septoplasty Rhinoplasty
Can correct visibly crooked nose or a deviated septum. Can correct both functional and aesthetic concerns. 
In this procedure, the external shape of the nose is left untouched. This surgery is performed to change the whole structure of the nose. 
This surgery is performed to straighten the septum inside the nose. The surgery is performed to reshape the nose to change its size, symmetry, and shape. 
No visible difference in the nose after surgery.The nose is visibly different after the surgery.


Which surgery should I go for?


Now that it’s clear that the two procedures are performed on the nose, they address different issues as well as performed in two different ways. Both these surgeries can help with breathing issues and other problems affecting the nose. 


It is still important to consult properly with the ENT doctor before undergoing any of the surgeries. The doctor will be able to suggest you better after a thorough diagnosis. 

Also Read: Correlation between a deviated septum and chronic sinusitis!

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