Deviated Septum Surgery: Side Effects, Complications and Improvements
The deviated septum surgery is the surgical procedure done to straighten the nasal septum. In layman’s terms, the septum is the wall that separates the nasal airways and a deviated nasal septum is an off-centered nose cartilage or crooked noses. This condition creates inequality of the nostrils. Though only a small percentage of humanity have perfectly centered septum, the deviation is invariably very slight that it’s unnoticeable and relatively harmless.
However, a severely deviated nasal septum would result to a host of grave health issues. Deviated septum and sleep apnea as well as snoring have long been associated. An off-centered septum would result to bigger and smaller nostrils. Breathing might appear normal with the bigger airway, but it also not so with the other side. The deviated septum will press on the turbinate of the smaller nostril and stress the mucosa or the skin covering of the other side.
Left untreated, this could profoundly affect the overall quality of a person’s life. This condition could lead to chronic nasal congestion due to rhinitis, sinusitis and even bronchitis. Headaches, nosebleeds, snoring, constant sneezing and other sleep apnea symptoms like breath gaps and pauses, gasping and choking while asleep and daytime sleepiness can also result from having a deviated septum.
The deviated septum surgery aims to address the condition by straightening the septum. This is an outpatient procedure, lasting for an hour or two, using either local or general anesthesia. Patients usually don’t need to stay overnight in the hospital as doctors just need to assure that the risk of infection is cleared. In doing so, it will effectively reduce or eliminate the inherent symptoms of having a deviated septum and sleep apnea. However, undergoing the surgical procedure also has several side effects or complications.
- Nasal obstructions – these results from failure to successfully set the septum correctly creating further obstruction.
- Infection – This includes prolonged pain, swelling and bleeding. Infections also develop fever and chills. Contracting infection will ultimately prolong the healing and recovery period. Avoiding any kind of infection should be the top priority of the patient. This can easily be done by taking antibiotics prescribed before and after the surgery. Proper rest should also be observed so as not to put undue stress to wounds.
- Bleeding – Although slight bleeding can be expected for the first day or two, it should only be in drips and do not soak up the packing. Excessive bleeding should be reported immediately.
- Diarrhea and vomiting – This could be an offshoot from the anaesthesia used in the deviated septum surgery. Patients can avoid vomiting and infecting the wounds thereof by fasting at least a day before the operation.
- Headaches, dizziness – Unstable blood pressure could act up during the operation resulting to dizziness and headaches. Patients should avoid too much moving around and jerky movements. Proper rest should be observed.
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Altered sense of smell and taste
- Numbness on the operated adjacent areas
A successful deviated septum surgery will afford the patient an easy and regular breathing whether awake or asleep. It also relieves the sleep apnea and other accompanying symptoms.