Many people suffer bothersome symptoms related to breathing but never know the actual cause until a doctor closely examines their noses. Frequent nasal congestion and loud snoring are just a few of the many and persistent issues that send patients to a nasal specialist for relief. Those pesky sinus conditions that strike four or more times a year may indicate something is amiss with your septum – that paper-thin wall of cartilage and bone separating your two nostrils – or turbinates, structures in your upper nose known to swell in reaction to allergies, infections, and other irritations.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates, it may be time to consider a functional rhinoplasty to provide the relief you need. Imagine breathing freely and easily and not having to worry about seasonal congestion.
A deviated septum can occur at birth or after being knocked out of position via accident or injury. This displaces the septum into one of the two breathing channels that move air through the nose and into the lungs. When that happens, your body’s organs don’t get the proper amount of oxygen, resulting in daytime sleepiness. Improper nasal drainage is another side effect of a blocked nasal channel. When drainage is prevented, germs become stuck in the upper nose and multiply rapidly. This is the cause of frequent nasal congestion, sinus problems, and snoring that are common to individuals with a deviated septum.
Other septum-caused issues include:
Medications may help, and sufferers are sometimes assigned CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) masks to wear during sleep. These masks force air through the nose and into the lungs. While these may be effective, patients don’t enjoy taking medications long-term, and CPAP machines come with their setbacks, such as the bulk and cumbersome nature of the face straps, and dry mouth caused by the forced air system. The complete cure for a bent, twisted, or crooked septum, as well as enlarged turbinates, is usually found in nose surgery, known as septoplasty or functional rhinoplasty.
Patients seeking relief for nasal issues often choose functional nose surgery in combination with a cosmetic rhinoplasty, which then makes the procedure septo-rhinoplasty, which takes less than two hours in an outpatient operating facility. As a deviated septum can make the nose appear crooked, this issue is sometimes addressed with cosmetic surgery. The goals of an aesthetic procedure can also extend to reducing the size of wide nostrils and smoothing bumps on the nasal bridge.
Dr. Kotler can complete your septum correction surgery in a minimally invasive manner. While a cosmetic rhinoplasty involves an incision, Dr. Kotler performs functional rhinoplasty completely inside the nose; there will be no scarring on the exterior of the nose. The goal of septoplasty is to correct the position of the septum, straightening it and ensuring the nasal channels are free and open. If you are scheduled for cosmetic rhinoplasty, in addition to surgery to improve function, Dr. Kotler performs a closed procedure. In this method, all incisions are located on the inside of the nose; there is no external scarring.
If enlarged turbinates are contributing to breathing issues, Dr. Kotler can perform a turbinoplasty to change the position of the turbinates. In some cases, they can even be trimmed down in size to ensure patients can breathe freely and enjoy improved feelings of wellness. Like septoplasty, turbinate reduction surgery is completed entirely inside the nose, requiring no incisions at the soft tissue outside of the nose.
Most patients can go home in three to four hours. No scars result on the outside of the nose because incisions and stitching are all done inside the nose by working through the nostrils. After the procedure, soft packing containing medications to limit bleeding, promote healing and hold the septum in place are wrapped around slim breathing tubes known as the Kotler Nasal Airway and inserted into the nostrils.
After septoplasty, very little swelling or bruising will be apparent. With Dr. Kotler’s skilled approach to care, this minimal amount of bruising and swelling is noticeable for only four days. Whether you had a cosmetic or functional procedure, you will be asked to avoid blowing your nose to prevent strain on healing nasal structures. You will also need to sleep with your head elevated.
Patients should be evaluated by an ENT or our rhinoplasty superspecialist, Dr. Robert Kotler, before determining if surgery is necessary. Many patients seek the care of a physician after living with prolonged symptoms that include frequent nasal congestion, nosebleeds, loud snoring, and facial pain. Others have tried non-surgical treatments for their condition that have not provided the hoped-for relief. Only you can decide if surgery is the right choice for you; however, this procedure becomes imperative for many patients who find their quality of life has been affected by a deviated septum and enlarged turbinates.
Your procedure will be completed under anesthesia; you will be completely comfortable during the treatment process. After your surgery, your nose will feel sore and tender, but this will dissipate as you heal. With the addition of the Kotler nasal airway, patients can breathe freely after surgery – even with the post-procedure swelling and nasal packing. This improves patients’ overall feelings of comfort during the recovery process.
This depends on the nature of your work. Dr. Kotler advises patients to avoid strenuous exercise and physical labor for at least a week after their treatment. If you have a physically intense job, be sure to ask Dr. Kotler about restrictions on activity during the healing process. Patients with desk jobs often feel comfortable returning to work after just a week.
A traditional rhinoplasty and nose surgery completed for functional reasons have two distinct goals: the former changes the appearance and shape of the nose to fit patients’ facial features, while the latter helps patients breathe with ease. Both procedures can increase feelings and wellness, and they can be completed at the same time, but a cosmetic nose surgery will not necessarily involve reducing the size of turbinates or correcting a deviated septum unless the altered septum make the nose appear crooked.