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The septum is the cartilage and bony partition that separates the two nasal chambers (nostrils).
The main indications for nasal surgery are:
nasal airway obstruction
septal spur headache
nasal septal deformity in the presence of other intranasal surgery
Nasal airway obstruction is usually the result of a septal deformity that causes breathing by mouth, sleep apnea, or recurrent nasal infections that are slow to respond to antibiotics. A septal spur headache is defined as a headache secondary to pressure from the nasal septum on the linings in side the nose (septal impaction) and relieved by topical (applied to a localized area of the skin) anesthesia on the septal impaction. Other intranasal surgery indicating septoplasty includes polypectomy (removal of a polyp), ethmoidectomy (operation on the ethmoid bone at the superior part of the nasal cavity), turbinate surgery (operation on the concha nasalis), and tumor removal.
The goal of the surgery is to straighten out the nasal septum, to relieve obstructions, or other problems related to the deviation of the septum. An incision is made internally on one side of the nasal septum. After the mucous membrane is elevated away from the bone, obstructive parts of bone and cartilage are removed, and plastic surgery is performed as necessary. Then the mucous membrane is returned to its original position.
Other intranasal surgery indicating septoplasty includes polypectomy (removal of a polyp), ethmoidectomy (operation on the ethmoid bone at the superior part of the nasal cavity), turbinate surgery (operation on the concha nasalis), and tumor removal.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Seth Schwartz, MD, MPH, Otolaryngologist, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.