With cold and flu season in full swing, many people are experiencing an increase in catching sinus infections. But what about patients who get sinus infections all year round? An underlying sinus condition may be to blame. In these cases, a doctor may recommend an endoscopic sinus surgery called septoplasty.
What is septoplasty?
Septoplasty is a type of sinus surgery. During the procedure, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist will straighten the septum to allow for better airflow. This surgery is a treatment for correcting a deviated septum. After the surgery, most patients experience easier breathing and fewer sinus infections.
Candidates for surgery
A person who has a deviated septum can struggle to breathe evenly through both sides of the nose. This isn’t always a significant problem. However, when the septum is severely crooked, these patients may suffer from recurrent sinusitis and have difficulty performing daily activities.
What to expect
Before surgery, an ENT will evaluate all medical history and perform a physical exam. The pre-surgery appointment will also involve a discussion of expectations, and the ENT may take some photos of the patient’s nose. Patients will be asked to refrain from taking certain medications that increase bleeding risk before surgery.
What happens during endoscopic sinus surgery
During endoscopic surgeries, physicians use small incisions and small instruments called endoscopes. The result is a less invasive procedure and quicker recovery. During septoplasty, the ENT makes small incisions inside the nose to trim and reposition cartilage or bones. The surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. This means that, after recovering for a short time, patients can go home the same day.
How long does recovery take?
After any surgery, patients may experience some pain or discomfort. ENTs will typically advise patients to avoid nose-blowing for a few weeks and to sleep with the head slightly elevated. Surgical patients will also need to stay away from high-impact aerobic activity, such as jogging, for a month or two to prevent nosebleeds.
When will I be back to normal?
Patients can return to normal activities within a few weeks of surgery, at the instruction of the surgeon. However, the tissues in the nose are not fully healed for 3-6 months. Some people find that full healing takes up to a year. Still, the majority of patients experience improvements in breathing within a few weeks of surgery.
See a sinus specialist
Anyone who experiences chronic sinusitis or difficulty breathing should consult with an ENT. These specialists can provide diagnosis and treatment options. In some cases, treatment may include surgery such as endoscopic sinus surgery or septoplasty. Patients should speak with an ENT to learn more.