Septoplasty/Deviated Septum Repair

Septoplasty Surgical Septoplasty: Conditions & Treatments

Definition: Surgery to straighten the bone and cartilage that divide the area between your two nostrils is known as a septoplasty (SEP-toe-plas-tee) (septum). A deviated septum is one in which the septum is crooked. Due to inadequate drainage, a deviated septum can make breathing through your nose difficult, increasing your risk of developing sinus infections.

What is Septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgery performed directly through the nostrils to straighten or repair structural abnormalities in the septum to restore airflow. It is an outpatient procedure that takes up to 90 minutes to complete.

The nasal septum is a midline structure in our nose made of bone at the top, back and bottom and cartilage along the front and separates the nasal passages into a right and left side. Patients can either be born with a deviated septum or develop one due to trauma like breaking their nose.

Often there is no external deformity associated with a deviated septum, but patients will complain of unilateral or bilateral constant day and night nasal obstruction. When severe it can lead to more serious conditions like recurrent or chronic sinus infections or sinus headaches by blocking the sinus drainage openings as well as snoring, sleep apnea, recurrent nosebleeds, and other nasal/sinus issues.

Deviated Septum Repair

At C/V ENT Surgical Group our nose/sinus surgeons are experts at repairing deviated septums via a 30-60 minute outpatient surgery done at a state-of-the-art nose/sinus surgery center. They will often combine the procedure with submucous resection (SMR) of the turbinates and nasal valve repair so all of your breathing issues are addressed once and for all. As such our surgeons have the lowest risks for revision surgery, scar tissue formation or re-deviation of the septum in all of Los Angeles. Our surgeons are often specialists patients seek revision surgery when problems occurred after their previous surgery.

What qualifies you for a septoplasty?

This procedure is for patients with severe or problematic deviations of the septum that cause repeat or chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion and nasal obstructions that impairs breathing capacity. Patients with minor deviations may benefit from conservative treatments and other less invasive procedures

Is septoplasty minor or major surgery?

Septoplasty is considered a minor surgical procedure. But just like any major surgery, there are risks involved with this procedure that patients should be aware of.

What is the success rate of septoplasty?

Septoplasty has a high success rate, ranging from 43% to 85%. The risk of failure or complications is low.

Is deviated septum surgery a minor surgery?

Deviated septum surgery or septoplasty is a minor surgery performed under local or general anesthesia that is offered as an outpatient procedure at CV/ENT Surgical Group.

Deviated septum signs and symptoms

Mild deviations of the septum are usually asymptomatic. Symptoms of a deviated septum that requires surgical intervention include frequent or chronic nosebleeds, nasal congestion, blocked nostrils, head, nasal, or facial pain, chronic sinusitis, noisy mouth and nose breathing, snoring, and sleep apnea.

Advantages of a septoplasty

Septoplasty offers patients the following advantages over conservative treatment protocols.

  • Improves sleep quality
  • Eliminates sinus infections
  • Stops nosebleeds
  • Improves sense of smell and taste
  • Eliminates head, nasal, and facial pain
  • Alleviates congestion
  • Restores breathing function and airflow
  • Eliminates nasal obstruction

Deviated Septum Repair Rhinoplasty and Septoplasty combined

Septoplasty and rhinoplasty can be combined into one surgery so patients can have their septal abnormalities and aesthetic issues corrected at the same time. When combined with rhinoplasty, it is called septorhinoplasty.

Septoplasty procedure

To perform septoplasty, the surgeon makes incisions inside the patient’s nostrils, so there’s no trauma to the external areas of the nose or face. The procedure can be performed as a standalone treatment or in combination with sinus surgery, rhinoplasty, and other minimally invasive ENT procedures.

During the procedure, the surgeon removes or revises the damaged or crooked cartilage of the septum, to straighten restore symmetry to the nostrils. Dissolvable sutures are used to seal the surgical site. To complete the procedure, the surgeon applies bandages and a splint to support and protect the septum and nose while it heals.

Septoplasty healing and follow-up

Because septoplasty is a minor nasal surgery, patients go home the same day to rest and recover. Patients should take it easy and avoid strenuous activities for the first week or two after surgery. Recovery takes a few months, but patients can resume regular activities within a few weeks. Patients must adhere to their post-operative care guidelines throughout recovery and follow up with their surgeon.

Risks & Benefits of Septoplasty

Septoplasty is a highly successful procedure. Still, there are the following risks for patients to consider:

  • Bleeding
  • Excessive scarring
  • Nerve damage
  • Nasal tip damage
  • Septum perforation
  • Distorted nose shape
  • Infection
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Additional septoplasty or nasal surgery

These risks are rare but, in most cases, avoidable with good hygiene and proper adherence to all preoperative and post-operative septoplasty care recommendations.

The benefits of septoplasty are improved breathing and no ongoing symptoms of sinusitis, such as nasal congestion, nosebleeds, etc. The benefits far outweigh the risks.

Septoplasty side effects

Deviated septum repair surgery is a relatively safe operation. However, it comes with a low risk of the following side effects.

  • Polly beak – thin nasal tip
  • Postoperative deformities
  • Scar tissue
  • Desensitization
  • Nasal hematoma
  • Weak or collapsed nasal wall
  • Undesirable changes to the shape and appearance of the nose

Is septoplasty covered by insurance?

Most health insurances cover septoplasty when it’s a medical necessity. In other words, the specialist ordering the procedure must indicate that the patient requires the procedure to correct deviations of the septum that cause functional breathing impairments. Many insurers also have special criteria in place in order for coverage to apply, including the following:

Conservative treatments do not work or are not sufficient to correct the issues
Deviations cause chronic nasal obstruction or recurrent purulent sinusitis (inflammation/infection of the sinuses that cause foul-smelling/discolored drainage or pus)
Septoplasty to correct cosmetic impairments is not covered by insurance.

Many patients will combine septoplasty with cosmetic changes to the external appearance of their nose via a rhinoplasty (aka nose job). Our surgeons are experts at this as well and can provide the cosmetic changes you seek, however, this portion of the surgery is not covered by insurance. Please see the rhinoplasty section of our site for more information on this additional procedure.

As such if you can’t breathe through your nose for some time now and are frustrated of using over the counter meds, breathe-rite strips, Afrin and various other self-soothing techniques, contact one of our Los Angeles nose doctors to discuss your options.


Patients usually leave the surgical center 1-2 hours after the procedure with minimal pain/discomfort and no external bruising or splints. Our surgeons will either place no packing, dissolvable packing, internal splints or regular packing for 1 night only.

Patients will usually say the tip of their nose is mildly sore and feel some pressure but no significant pain for about a week. Most patients report either not taking pain medications or only taking it for 1-3 days after surgery. Most patients are back to work 3-5 days after surgery.

Key Takeaways

  • Septoplasty is a nasal surgery performed via the nostrils to repair a deviated septum, nasal defects, and abnormalities. 
  • It is a highly safe, low-risk surgical outpatient procedure that straightens the septum to make breathing easier for patients.
  • Septorhinoplasty is a combination of septoplasty and rhinoplasty. The procedure is done to improve the appearance and function of the nose.

CV ENT Surgical Group is a state-of-the-art nasal surgery center. Our ear, nose, and throat specialists are board-certified septoplasty and rhinoplasty experts. We also offer comprehensive, minimally invasive treatments for all nose and sinus-related concerns.

If you suspect your symptoms or breathing issues are due to a deviated septum or could benefit from surgical septoplasty, contact CV/ENT Surgical Group for a consultation.