- A septorhinoplasty may be done to correct a deviated septum, improve nasal breathing, or improve the appearance of the nose.
- Risks might include excessive bleeding, infection, temporary numbness in your jaw, nose, or upper teeth, an altered sense of smell, a hole in your septum, a blood clot in your nose, and unsatisfactory results. Your surgeon can talk with you about the risks you have and the results you can expect.
- A septorhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure that takes 1 to 3 hours.
- Recovery will take several weeks, and it might be up to a year before your nose is completely healed.
- The procedure is often covered by insurance if you can prove there is a functional component to your surgery.
- When you pay, out-of-pocket costs can range from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000.
- The procedure might not relieve your symptoms.
- You might need to have a second surgery to get the results you want.
- Once your deviated septum is corrected, the changes will be permanent.
A septorhinoplasty is a procedure that both improves your ability to breathe and changes the external appearance of the nose. Septorhinoplasty combines two procedures:
- Septoplasty. Your septum is the cartilage in the middle of your nose, between your nostrils. You have a deviated septum if this cartilage is crooked or misaligned. A deviated septum can make it difficult to breathe properly and can lead to dry mouth, snoring, and other complications. A septorhinoplasty corrects this problem by repositioning and straightening your septum.
- Rhinoplasty. This is a surgical procedure that changes the external shape of the nose. Rhinoplasty involves removing and reshaping part of the bones and cartilage of the nose.
Costs for a septorhinoplasty can vary widely. Septorhinoplasty is a medical procedure that may be covered by insurance if the surgery is necessary to improve your breathing. Your costs with insurance will depend on your plan but might include:
- a copayment or coinsurance
- any part of your deductible you have remaining
- any costs for noncovered services
Septorhinoplasty purely for cosmetic reasons will not be covered by most insurance plans. Your costs will be dependent on where you have your procedure done and what the surgery includes. When you search for a surgeon in your area you might see costs as low as $6,000 or as high as $30,000.
A septorhinoplasty improves the function of your nose by removing or reshaping the parts of your septum that are deviated. The exact technique for your septorhinoplasty will depend on your surgeon and what is to be corrected or changed.
What’s the procedure for a septorhinoplasty?
During a septorhinoplasty, you’re unconscious and fully sedated. The surgeon makes a cut from inside the nose and gently lifts the cartilage and bone in the septum.
The part of the cartilage that causes any deviation is removed or reshaped and any other structures that affect breathing, such as the nasal turbinates may be addressed as well. The remaining bone and tissue are put back in place and into a straight position.
While the incision is still open, the surgeon may also:
- reshape the cartilage at the tip of the nose
- shave areas of bone to remove a hump
- break and reset the nasal bones to correct any deviation and improve the appearance of the nose
The surgeon then closes the incision and packs the nose with gauze to help stop bleeding.
You might have splits or soft plastic sheets placed inside your nose to help your septum heal straight. In most cases, you can go home once the anesthesia wears off. If there are splints or packing, the surgeon will remove this in the office at an appointment following surgery.
All surgeries carry some risks. The possible risks of a septorhinoplasty include:
- excess bleeding
- a change to the shape of your nose
- a hole in your septum
- a blood clot in your nose
- decreased sense of smell
- a bad reaction to anesthesia
- temporary numbness in your gums, teeth, or nose
It’s important to tell your surgeon about any medical conditions you have to reduce your risk of complications. Rheumatologic conditions like lupus or osteoarthritis, smoking, and some medications can increase the risk of poor wound healing.
Some people also find that their symptoms don’t improve after a septorhinoplasty. They might need to have additional surgery to relieve symptoms.
You might need to take some precautions to avoid bleeding and swelling in the first few weeks after your surgery. Your surgeon will let you know how many of these things you need to do and for how long. Some common after surgery instructions include:
- Keeping your head elevated while you’re sleeping.
- Avoiding blowing your nose.
- Avoiding wearing clothes you need to pull on over your head.
- Avoiding jogging and other intense cardiovascular activities.
It will take your nose about 3 to 6 months to stabilize. As your septum stabilizes, you might see changes in your breathing and the shape of your nose. Some people see changes for a year following surgery.
Questions to ask your doctor
It’s important to find a surgeon you feel comfortable with. One way to ensure you’ve found the right surgeon for you is to ask a few questions.
- What can I expect from this surgery?
- Will this procedure improve my breathing?
- Will I see any changes to the shape of my nose?
- Are people normally satisfied after having this surgery?
- What will my recovery look like?
- Do you recommend that I have a rhinoplasty at the same time?
You’ll meet with a surgeon before your surgery to go over your medical history and the expectations you have for your septorhinoplasty. Your doctor’s office will take many images of your nose before surgery. They will also carefully measure your nose and the area around it.
Your surgeon will let you know what they expect your results will be. Once your surgery is scheduled, you’ll be advised to take some steps to prepare.
These will likely include:
- Stopping smoking, if you smoke. Smoking can slow the healing process and increase your risk of complications from surgery.
- Avoiding aspirin and ibuprofen. Aspirin and ibuprofen can increase your risk of bleeding. It’s best to avoid them before and after surgery. Your surgeon will let you know what medications are safe to take.
Finding a surgeon will depend on whether you’re using insurance.
If you think insurance will cover your septorhinoplasty, you need to find a surgeon who accepts your insurance. You might also need to get a referral from your primary care doctor proving that a septorhinoplasty is medically necessary before your insurance company will cover the procedure. Be sure to coordinate with your insurance company for the exact steps you need to take.
If you’re planning to pay out of pocket, you can contact surgeons directly. Choose a qualified surgeon with experience performing septorhinoplasty. A good way to do that is to use a surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.