While there are plenty of similarities between septoplasty and rhinoplasty, they serve two very different purposes.
Septoplasty is used to correct a deviated septum. Usually a patient’s insurance will pay for this procedure when it is deemed necessary for health reasons. If your deviated septum is causing breathing difficulties, continued chronic sinusitis, or other types of infections or if it will pose a risk to future medical treatment, septoplasty is usually recommended. These conditions must be diagnosed by a doctor before the procedure will be covered by health insurance.
The surgery is much like a rhinoplasty surgery. However, the only change made to the nose is to correct the septum. The shape and size of the nose remain the same. To fix the septum, septoplasty may require cartilage from another part of the body such as the ears or ribs, but the basic structure of the nose remains intact and unchanged.
Rhinoplasty involves making changes to the basic structure of the nose, including the length, width, etc. Many people choose to have rhinoplasty surgery if they are unhappy with the size, shape, or symmetry of their nose. The procedure can also be used to restore a nose that has been damaged due to an accident or an illness such as cancer.
As with septoplasty, it is often necessary to graft in cartilage from another part of the body such as the ribs or ears. Skin grafts may also be taken, usually from the forehead.
Both the septoplasty and rhinoplasty are performed by the same rhinoplasty surgeon, use the same type of anesthesia, and have similar recovery times. Patients have to wear a cast on their nose for 7 to 10 days and can expect some minor bruising and swelling as the nose heals. Generally, patients can return to their normal activities within 2 to 3 weeks of having either or both procedures.
As the two procedures are so similar and can be performed by the same surgeon, it is common for both procedures to be done at the same time. A patient with a deviated septum, for example, may elect to have a bump on their nose removed or to have their nose reshaped to make it more symmetrical or proportionate with the rest of their facial features.
If you are considering undergoing rhinoplasty, septoplasty, or both, the first step is to have a consultation with a qualified facial cosmetic surgeon. During your consultation, the surgeon will examine your nose, obtain your medical history and discuss your goals for the surgery to determine whether you are a good candidate.
The consultation is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have and to help you decide whether one or both of these procedures is right for you. It will also give you a good idea of what you can expect if you choose to undergo a rhinoplasty and/or septoplasty.