Septoplasty is surgery to correct any problems in the nasal septum. The nasal septum is the wall inside the nose that separates the nostrils.
Nasal septum repair - discharge
When You Were in the Hospital
You had septoplasty to fix the problems in your nasal septum. This surgery takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours. You may have received general anesthesia so you were asleep and pain free. You may only have had local in the area having surgery but this is less likely.
What to Expect at Home
After surgery, you may have either packaging (to stop bleeding) or splints (to hold the tissues in place) inside your nose. Most of the time, this packing is removed 24 - 36 hours after surgery. Splints may be left in place for 1 - 2 weeks.
You may have swelling in your face for 2 - 3 days after surgery. Your nose may drain and bleed a little for 2 to 5 days after surgery.
Your nose, cheeks, and upper lip may be numb. The numbness on the tip of your nose may take several months to completely go away.
Rest all day after surgery. Do not touch or rub your nose. Avoid blowing your nose (it is normal to feel stuffed up for several weeks).
You may apply ice packs to your nose and eye area to help with pain and swelling, but make sure to keep your nose dry. Cover the ice pack with a clean, dry cloth or small towel. Sleeping propped up on 2 pillows will also help reduce swelling.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicines. Get it filled when you go home so you have it when you need it. Take pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a prescription painkiller, the way your doctor told you to take them. Take your medicine when pain first starts. Don’t let pain get very bad before taking it.
You should not drive, operate machinery, drink alcohol, or make any major decisions for at least 24 hours after surgery. Your anesthesia will make you groggy and it will be hard to think clearly. The effects should wear off in about 24 hours.
Limit activities that could make you fall or put more pressure on your face. Some of these are bending over, holding your breath, and tightening muscles during bowel movements. Avoid heavy lifting and hard physical activity for 2-4 weeks. You should be able to go back to work or school 1 week after surgery.
Do not take baths or showers for 24 hours. Your nurse will show you how to clean your nose area with Q-tips and hydrogen peroxide or another cleaning solution if needed.
You may go outside a few days after surgery, but don’t stay in the sun for more than 15 minutes.
Follow up with your doctor as you have been told. You may need to have stitches removed. Your doctor will want to check your healing.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
A heavy nosebleed, and you cannot stop it
Pain that is getting worse or pain that your pain medicines are not helping
High fever and chills
Kridel RWH, Kelly PE, MacGregor AR. The nasal septum. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 34.
Matthew M. Cooper, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Surgery, HealthEast Care System, St. Paul, MN. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.