How does a patient prepare for septoplasty?

The doctor must know of all medications — including nonprescription drugs, supplements and herbs — the patient is taking. Before surgery, the patient should stop taking drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and certain herbal supplements, which make it harder for blood to clot. The doctor should also know if the patient has allergies or bleeding problems.

How is septoplasty performed?

Septoplasty is usually performed on an outpatient basis, so most patients go home the day of the surgery. In most cases, the patient is placed under general anesthesia and is asleep during the operation. Local anesthesia, which numbs the part of the body targeted for surgery, might be an option.

The procedure takes place entirely inside the nose. The doctor cuts a wall on one side of the nose and lifts or removes the mucosa, a thin membrane that covers and protects the septum. This allows the doctor to reshape the septum’s bone and cartilage. Sometimes parts of the bone and cartilage are removed, then reshaped and repositioned. Afterward, the mucosa is placed back over the septum. The nose is not broken during surgery. The operation takes between 30 and 90 minutes.

Afterward, the doctor may insert splints or soft packing to hold nasal tissue in place, prevent nosebleeds and prevent the formation of scar tissue. Usually, the splints stay in one or two weeks and packing remains in the nose between 24 and 36 hours. Sometimes, the doctor might leave only dissolving stitches, which disappear on their own over time.

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