Nasal Septoplasty

What is a nasal septoplasty?

Nasal septoplasty is a procedure where the deviated or obstructing portions of the nasal septum (the cartilage and bone that separates the nose into two sides) is straightened. This procedure is typically performed an operating room under general anesthesia. Sometimes this procedure is performed in conjunction with other procedures to improve nasal breathing (ie: inferior turbinate reduction, nasal endoscopy, nasal cautery or sinus surgery)

Why would my child need a nasal septoplasty?

This procedure allows detailed examination of the nasal airway and is used to treat nasal congestion. The deviated and obstructing portions of the bone and cartilage can be repositioned or removed to allow more natural breathing through the nose.

What should I expect on the day of the procedure?

The child’s procedure takes place in an operating room. The procedure usually takes about one hour, but can take much longer depending on the severity and any other procedures planned. The surgeon provides an idea of how much time is expected, but this may change during the procedure.

Before and after surgery: a pediatric nurse prepares the child for surgery, assists the pediatric ENT surgeon during surgery, and cares for the child after the procedure.

Anesthesiology: The child is placed under general anesthesia by a pediatric anesthesiologist. At Nationwide Children’s, subspecialty-trained pediatric anesthesiologists regularly provide pediatric anesthesiology services for patients undergoing surgical procedures. It is important that the parent meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the procedure.

Surgery: A pediatric ENT surgeon may use specialized telescopes to systematically evaluate the nasal airway in conjunction with specialized nasal instruments. If additional procedures are needed, additional special instruments may be used to perform these procedures.

What should I expect after my child has a nasal septoplasty?

After Surgery: The surgeon may feel it is safe for the child to go home after the procedure, or may recommend that he/she be observed at the hospital for a period of time afterward. The surgeon discusses the postoperative plan with the parent after the procedure. Follow up plans are discussed as well.

The child may be more sleepy than usual. Some additional nasal obstruction is normal after surgery. There are often small plastic splints placed in the nose after surgery, to help with healing. These are usually left in place for 5-7 days. Some minor nosebleeds or nasal drainage is normal after the surgery. Antibiotics are typically prescribed while the splints are in place.

A slightly increased temperature after anesthesia is normal. The child should be encouraged to drink plenty of liquids after the procedure. The surgeon will discuss when he/she should return to a normal diet.

Tylenol or ibuprofen is typically appropriate for pain control. Sometimes stronger narcotic pain medications may be prescribed for additional pain control.

If the child develops any concerning symptoms after surgery, including pauses in the breathing, color change of the skin (particularly if the lips, face, or hands are turning blue), appearing lethargic or tired, severe bleeding or any other sudden change from his/ her normal behavior, please seek immediate medical attention.
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