20th Jun 2024

Septoplasty Simplified: Understanding Deviated Septum Surgery

For individuals suffering from a deviated septum, breathing can be challenging. Septoplasty could be the answer.

In this blog, we explore how surgically correcting a deviated septum—septoplasty—can increase air passage and improve all aspects associated with a deviated septum. We cover the surgery itself and recovery period.

Key Points to Note About Septoplasty Surgery

  • Septoplasty is a surgical operation for those with a deviated septum that typically results in improved airflow and reduction in breathing difficulties, giving you a better quality of life.
  • Preparation for septoplasty is crucial and includes a consultation with our expert nose surgeons. They will discuss adjustments in medication, cessation of smoking and ensuring good health to minimise surgical risks.
  • While septoplasty is generally safe with rare complications, patients can anticipate significant postoperative improvements in breathing, sleep quality, and a reduction in sinus infections.
  • A septoplasty can be combined with a rhinoplasty, this is called a septorhinoplasty. This combined procedure will result in an improvement in breathing along with a more aesthetically pleasing nose shape.

Understanding Septoplasty and Deviated Septum

Ideally, the nasal septum—the partition of bone and cartilage separating the nostrils—should be positioned in the centre to facilitate proper airflow. This is not always the case for everyone. Some individuals have a deviated or displaced septum that can lead to considerable breathing difficulty and discomfort from nasal obstruction. This condition often goes hand-in-hand with misaligned nasal bones, which contribute to having a blocked nose. Sometimes to stop these symptoms, steroids may be prescribed.

When looking for long-term relief from trouble breathing and facial pain, septoplasty surgery might be an effective solution. By realigning the off-centre septum by cutting away excess material or repositioning existing bone or cartilage—or if needed by replacing them entirely, it will open up obstructed airways effectively.

For successful outcomes post-septoplasty, it’s crucial that patients entrust their care to expert surgeons. At Kensington Medical our experienced plastic surgeons have carried out hundreds and hundreds of septoplasty often combined with rhinoplasty. This achieves the removal of difficulty breathing and at the same time changes the shape of your nose to be more aesthetically pleasing.

What Constitutes a Deviated Septum?

The condition known as a deviated septum occurs when the nasal septum, the structure that should ideally separate the nostrils into equal halves, is misaligned from its central position. This misalignment of the septum, termed nasal septum deviation, may be present at birth or develop following trauma from for example contact sports or certain medical procedures.

Main Symptoms of a Deviated Septum

Individuals with a deviated septum often experience a range of symptoms which include:

  • Difficulty breathing or nose feeling blocked
  • Nasal obstruction on one or both sides of the nose
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • A sense of pressure across their facial features
  • Frequent sinus infections and facial pain

Such symptoms can disrupt everyday activities like sleep and physical exercise due to difficulty in breathing and constant nasal blockage.

The Surgical Solution: Septoplasty

Septoplasty surgery, commonly referred to as deviated septum surgery, is the conventional treatment for correcting a deviated septum. The steps of this surgical procedure involve:

  1. Surgical incisions are made within the interior of the nose or externally when necessary in order to reach and modify the misaligned portions of bone and/or cartilage making up the septum.
  2. The surgeon will then realign or excise parts of these structures, ensuring that after adjustment, they support an accurately aligned septum inside the nasal cavity.
  3. Lastly, they meticulously stitch back into place any disrupted mucosal tissue.

Surgeons might insert spreader grafts—tiny slivers of cartilage—to preserve and stabilise newly restructured sections. Should there be removals involving cartilaginous material in a septoplasty process, such pieces are preserved in a saline solution. Later on, these can potentially be modified. For use either as supplementary structural supports within a revised septal framework or incorporated into rhinoplasty procedures where additional shaping may be required.

Preparing for Your Septoplasty Procedure

At Kensington Medical, your nose surgeon will thoroughly explore all elements related to a deviated septum: your motivations for seeking surgery, potential advantages and drawbacks of the procedure, as well as what to expect during recovery. We assess your overall health to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for the operation.

Any medications you’re taking are reviewed and potentially adjusted—especially those known to elevate bleeding risk like aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs or herbal supplements. We also advise that stopping smoking is best because it can affect recovery and increase surgical risks.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Stop smoking to improve recovery

An important modification involves stopping smoking because it stops the nose’s capacity to expel mucus, which plays an integral role in recovery. If you smoke, we’ll explore options for quitting at your first consultation.


It's important to have a healthy weight as it helps regulate blood pressure—this minimises complications both during and after surgery. During our initial consultation or before when the consultation is being booked, we will review information about your weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) so that you can be in good condition prior to undergoing surgery.

Septoplasty Surgery

The deviated septum surgery will take place in our Central London, Wimbledon, or Kingston hospital.

The procedure takes place under a general anesthesia, which ensures that you experience no discomfort and you sleep through the entire procedure.

The operation takes from an hour to one and a half hours. In that period, your plastic surgeon will:

  1. Create an incision within your nose providing access to rectify the deviated septum.
  2. Make necessary adjustments by reshaping or excising portions of bone and cartilage.
  3. Seal up the site using self-dissolving sutures. These stitches gradually disappear over time thereby allowing for smoother recovery with less interruption to mending tissues.

Anesthesia Options

Kensington Medical opts for general anesthesia during septoplasty ensuring a relaxed and stress-free atmosphere. Total Intravenous Anesthesia (TIVA) is our chosen method, as it lessens nausea and recovery after surgery and hastens the healing period.

The Surgery

Nose surgery, specifically septoplasty, is an intricate procedure designed to correct misalignment in the nose by addressing a deviated septum. This surgical technique meticulously adjusts or excises the errant segments of bone and cartilage to realign them properly. Several methodologies are employed to tailor the operation to individual nasal conditions, including endonasal, endoscopic, and open surgical approaches.

Post-operative measures following this nose surgery involve methods like stitching up the mucous membrane lining and applying splints or packing materials. These interventions help maintain structure and support for the newly aligned nasal pathway after working on the septum during the procedure.

Post-Septoplasty Recovery and Care

To promote proper healing and reduce the risk of complications following a septoplasty:

  1. Splints or soft packing materials are used to provide support for nasal tissues, keeping them aligned and helping to prevent bleeding.
  2. Inside the nose, absorbable sutures may be employed in order to minimise disruption during tissue recovery.
  3. Maintaining cleanliness at the operation site is crucial, as well as adhering strictly to your surgeon’s guidance on bandage management.
  4. These practices stop infection and facilitate recovery.

At Kensington Medical, we arrange follow-up care including detailed instructions and postoperative appointments so you will feel confident in a speedy recovery.

Immediate Aftercare

Following the cessation of local anaesthesia, we continue to observe you and administer analgesics in accordance with hospital guidelines. You may have mild to moderate discomfort, which will be managed through medication prescribed for pain relief.

Using temporary splints or soft packing within the nose is instrumental in stabilising tissue position, curtailing any bleeding that may occur, and addressing issues related to a blocked nose.

To reduce swelling, it’s recommended that our patients elevate their head while sleeping.

Guidance on how to handle nasal dressings will be provided.

Septoplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure allowing patients to return home on the same day. You must have a friend or family member for transportation both ways and someone should stay overnight with you after surgery.

Post-surgical symptoms typically include:

  • Pain and pressure surrounding the eyes
  • Pain and pressure across the forehead area
  • Discomfort around cheeks,
  • On occasion, your teeth might feel pressure

These symptoms are common during recovery from septoplasty surgery. They can feel like a sinus infection but rest assured they are part of normal postoperative healing.

Healing at Home

During the initial week following your surgery, it’s important to ease back into your usual routine slowly and avoid activities that are physically demanding or involve heavy lifting. From weeks two to six post-surgery, you’re welcome to slowly increase your activity levels.

As you approach the sixth or seventh week after surgery, feel free to resume normal exercise habits. Nevertheless, keep in mind that full recovery can take several months and requires careful attention during this period. The internal structures of the nose tend to solidify between three and six months post-septoplasty. Changes might continue for a year or more beyond this timeframe.

Potential Risks and Complications of Septoplasty

Septoplasty is widely recognised as a procedure with minimal risk. However, there can be possible complications. These include ongoing symptoms such as obstructed air passages, haemorrhage, and alterations to the nasal contour.

Our highly skilled nose surgeons will discuss all risks and questions in consultation.

Common Concerns

Post-surgery, it is typical for patients to exhibit certain symptoms like swelling, noisy breathing and slight bleeding. These are transient issues that reduce over time as the body recovers.

If you are concerned about:

  • heightened pain
  • redness
  • swelling
  • any form of discharge

Please contact our aftercare team.

Long-Term Outcomes and Benefits

Photo of a person breathing freely


Most individuals who undergo septoplasty witness a substantial enhancement in their quality of life after the surgery.

Not only do they see physical improvements, but this procedure can also boost one’s general health, increase vitality and potentially raise self-confidence as breathing becomes easier and any pain or discomfort in the face diminishes.

Breathing and Sleep Quality Improve

A deviation in the nasal septum can impede airflow within the nasal passages, resulting in snoring and diminished sleep quality. Septoplasty, a procedure that corrects the positioning of the septum, can markedly decrease snoring and may also relieve symptoms related to sleep apnea—a disorder marked by intermittent breathing pauses while sleeping.

Enhanced breathing and improved sleep can significantly impact your daily activities. Quality rest leads to improvements in mood and well-being.

Nasal Health and Sinus Infections

Septoplasty not only enhances the quality of breathing and sleep, but also benefits nasal health significantly. Those who have undergone this surgical procedure typically report experiencing sinus infections with less frequency.

Dealing with regular sinus infections can be troublesome, interrupting everyday life due to considerable discomfort. Septoplasty offers a solution by decreasing these frequent occurrences, leading to an improved standard of living.

Our Expert Nose Surgeons

At Kensington Medical, our expert plastic surgeons are highly skilled in performing deviated septum surgery. We ensure that from your first initial consultation and second consultation, continuing with preoperative preparation, during the surgical procedure itself, and throughout postoperative care and follow-ups—we provide an unparalleled level of quality care.

When you come for a consultation, you will see before-and-after images, you’re encouraged to ask any questions about the procedure and look at any important events on your calendar.


Many of our patients are interested in discussing having both a septoplasty and a rhinoplasty as a combined procedure, this is called a septorhinoplasty. They are highly successful operations which combine better breathing conditions and a more aesthetically pleasing nose.


In summary, septoplasty is a well-established, low-risk procedure that can improve your quality of life if you’re struggling with a deviated septum.

From enhanced breathing and sleep quality to fewer sinus infections, the benefits of this surgery can be life-changing.

Get in touch to find out more by calling 0204 551 4892 or to book a consultation.

To find out about Kensington Medical, our expert Consultant plastic surgeons, our 5 star hospitals and our values, and why we work hard to follow them, click About us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Septoplasty is recognised as a minor surgical procedure that yields significant advantages by improving breathing through the widening of nasal passages. It might not be appropriate for all individuals. If you’re experiencing difficulty in breathing via your nose and would like some advice please do get in touch to find out more.

Typically, post-septoplasty, one can expect the nasal passageways to begin clearing within 3 to 4 weeks. Full healing and recovery from the surgery are achieved in a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

It is crucial during the subsequent months, to come to your follow-up appointments. These check-ups serve as an important means for tracking your progress through the healing phase.

In the process of performing a septoplasty, a surgeon will create an incision within the inner wall of the nose. They then lift up the mucous membrane and either reposition or excise any obstructive cartilage or bone. Following these adjustments, they reposition the membrane (source: webmd.com).

Post-procedure, you can expect to experience improved breathing through your nose.

Should you be experiencing breathing difficulties, sleep apnea, sinus or other concerning symptoms as a result of your deviated septum, considering surgery can improve your quality of life.

Following surgery for a deviated septum, it’s common to encounter some swelling and slight discomfort that lasts several days. Significant pain is not typical. To alleviate any mild discomfort you may feel, over-the-counter pain relief is effective.