Procedure, costs, recovery and more
- A septorhinoplasty can be performed to correct a deviated septum, improve nasal breathing, or improve the appearance of the nose.
- Risks may include excessive bleeding, infection, temporary numbness of the jaw, nose or upper teeth, impaired sense of smell, hole in the septum, blood clot in the nose and unsatisfactory results. Your surgeon can discuss with you the risks you face and the results you can expect.
- A septorhinoplasty is an outpatient procedure that lasts 1 to 3 hours.
- Recovery will take several weeks, and it may take up to a year for your nose to heal completely.
- The procedure is often covered by insurance if you can prove there is a functional component to your surgery.
- When you pay, disbursements can range from a few thousand dollars to over $30,000.
- The procedure may not relieve your symptoms.
- You may need to have a second surgery to get the desired results.
- 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 twisted or misaligned. A deviated septum can make it difficult to breathe and 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.
The costs of a septorhinoplasty can vary widely. Septorhinoplasty is a medical procedure that may be covered by insurance if surgery is needed to improve your breathing. Your insurance costs will depend on your plan, but could include:
- co-payment or co-insurance
- any part of your deductible you have left
- all charges for services not covered
Purely cosmetic septorhinoplasty will not be covered by most insurance plans. Your costs will depend on where you had your procedure done and what the surgery includes. When researching a surgeon in your area, you may 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 needs to be corrected or changed.
What is the procedure for a septorhinoplasty?
During a septorhinoplasty, you are unconscious and completely sedated. The surgeon makes an incision inside the nose and gently lifts the cartilage and bone in the septum.
The part of the cartilage that is causing any deviation is removed or reshaped and any other structures that affect breathing, such as the nasal turbinates, can also be treated. The remaining bone and tissues are put back in place and in an upright position.
While the incision is still open, the surgeon may also:
- reshape the cartilage at the tip of the nose
- shaving bony areas to remove a bump
- break and reset the nasal bones to correct any deviations and improve the appearance of the nose
The surgeon then closes the incision and stuffs the nose with gauze to help stop the bleeding.
You might have cracks or sheets of soft plastic placed inside your nose to help your septum heal properly. In most cases, you can go home after the anesthesia has passed. If there are any splints or packing, the surgeon will remove them in the office during an appointment after surgery.
All surgeries carry some risk. Possible risks of a septorhinoplasty include:
- excessive bleeding
- a change in the shape of your nose
- a hole in your septum
- a blood clot in the nose
- decreased sense of smell
- a bad reaction to anesthesia
- temporary numbness of the gums, teeth, or nose
It is important to tell your surgeon about any medical conditions you have to reduce your risk of complications. Rheumatological conditions such as lupus or osteoarthritis, smoking, and certain medications can increase the risk of poor wound healing.
Some people also find that their symptoms do not improve after septorhinoplasty. They might need additional surgery to relieve symptoms.
You may need to take some precautions to avoid bleeding and swelling in the first few weeks after your surgery. Your surgeon will tell you how many of these things you need to do and for how long. Some common instructions after surgery include:
- Keep your head elevated while you sleep.
- Avoid blowing your nose.
- Avoid wearing clothes that you have to pull over your head.
- Avoid jogging and other intense cardiovascular activities.
It will take about 3 to 6 months for your nose to stabilize. As your septum stabilizes, you may see changes in your breathing and the shape of your nose. Some people see changes for a year after surgery.
You will meet with a surgeon before your surgery to review 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 he expects from your results. Once your surgery is scheduled, you will be advised to take certain steps to prepare.
These will likely include:
- Quit smoking, if you smoke. Smoking can slow the healing process and increase the risk of complications from surgery.
- Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen. Aspirin and ibuprofen can increase your risk of bleeding. It is best to avoid them before and after surgery. Your surgeon will tell you which medications are safe to take.
Finding a surgeon will depend on whether you use insurance.
If you think insurance will cover your septorhinoplasty, you need to find a surgeon who accepts your insurance. You may also need to get a referral from your GP 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 to follow.
If you plan to pay out of pocket, you can contact the surgeons directly. Choose a qualified surgeon with experience in septorhinoplasty. A good way to do this is to use a surgeon certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.