The structure between the nostrils that separates the nasal passages is called the nasal septum. The septum is composed of a thin bone and cartilage. A hole can develop in the septum due to various reasons — a complication from a previous nasal surgery, excessive picking of the nose, cocaine use, trauma, cancer, or other diseases. Once the damage inhibits blood supply into the nasal septum, the cartilage dies, developing a hole in the process. Technically, this is known as a septal perforation.
How is septal perforation treated?
There are several surgeries that can close a septal perforation. Techniques vary, but generally the surgery involves using tissue from the inside of your nose or from any other part of your body to patch the hole in the septum. This tissue may serve as a flap to cover the perforation.
What can I expect after my septal perforation repair?
Cleveland plastic surgeon Dr. Totonchi places a stent inside the nose after septal repair, which is removed around 2 weeks after surgery. Patients should also expect some post-surgery drainage. Healing will take two to three weeks. Post-surgery instructions will include avoiding blowing your nose or engaging in strenuous exercise, specifically anything that requires you to bend forward. Obviously, you also need to be cautious about bumping your nose during exercises or household activities.
Why is septal perforation repair necessary?
Although some perforations, particularly small ones, may not require surgery, large perforations will usually require it. They will often cause pain and bleeding. And, over time, people with severe perforations may develop a saddle-shaped nose deformity. Even small perforations can cause an irritating whistling sound every time a person inhales. All of these issues can be corrected with surgery.
How well does septal perforation repair work?
The success of the repair can depend on the size of the septal perforation. How well you follow your post-surgery care instructions also affects the results of the procedure. Smokers and people with certain conditions such as diabetes are likely to have lesser rates of success, as well.