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Treatment for Deviated Nasal Septum

Septoplasty Overview

GOALS Improve nasal airway obstruction due to internal structural deformity
Repair 'Deviated Nasal Septum'
PROCEDURE Septoplasty
ANESTHESIA Local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia
LENGTH About 1 hour

Internal splints are typically removed after 7 days.

RECOVERY Resume normal activities the following day, return to work in 1 week, resume full activity and exercise at 2-3 weeks.


Septoplasty is performed to improve nasal breathing obstruction. The procedure entails modification of the shape, size or contour of the cartilagenous nasal septum which separates the right and left nasal airway. Septoplasty does not affect the appearance of the nose in most cases, and does not result in any bruising or external signs of surgery.

The ideal nasal septum is exactly midline, separating the left and right sides of the nose into passageways of equal size. Estimates are that 80 percent of all nasal septums are off-center, a condition that is generally not noticed. A "deviated septum" occurs when the septum is severely shifted away from the midline. The most common symptom from a badly deviated or crooked septum is difficulty breathing through the nose. The symptoms are usually worse on one side, and sometimes actually occur on the side opposite the bend. In some cases the crooked septum can interfere with the drainage of the sinuses, resulting in repeated sinus infections.

Why Should You Choose Dr. Pearson to Perform Your Septoplasty?
Dr. Pearson is trained in both facial plastic surgery, and ear, nose and throat surgery, which provides you as the patient with the highest level of training and expertise. Furthermore, Dr. Pearson is an expert in the field and has written numerous surgical book chapters and articles covering various aspects of nasal surgery.

You may be a candidate for septoplasty if you experience nasal airway obstruction that is not adequately relieved with medical management such as topical nasal sprays or allergy treatments. On nasal exam, internal structural deformity may appear to contribute significantly to your symptoms.

During septoplasty, the septum is approached with invisible incisions placed entirely on the inside of the nose. The lining of the nose is separated from the cartilage, which then undergoes modification to minimize the cause of the airway obstruction. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour to perform. Hidden internal nasal splints and absorbable sutures are used to facilitate healing.

Complementary Procedures
Septoplasty may be combined with turbinate reduction or Rhinoplasty for breathing obstruction or for improving nasal appearance.

Following septoplasty, you can expect a couple of days of minimal swelling and soreness which is well controlled with Tylenol in most cases. Internal nasal splints are typically removed after 7 days. By then, much of the nasal swelling is resolved and nasal breathing is improving. You can resume most normal activities after a couple of days, except for intense exercise, which may be resumed at about 3 weeks. Most people return to work in 1 week.

Click thumbnails to view larger images

Sample Patient 1

Patient with deviated nasal septum contributing to external nasal deformity as well as obstructed nasal breathing.

Sample Patient 2

Patient with deviated nasal septum contributing to external nasal deformity as well as obstructed nasal breathing.

>VIEW PHOTOS Click to view additional Before & After Photos

A patient describes his septoplasty experience with Dr. Pearson.

>VIEW VIDEOS Click to view additional Videos

Nasal Surgery Publications by Dr. Pearson 

Dr. Pearson is a nasal specialist and a published author who has written numerous articles and plastic surgery textbook chapters on this topic. Learn more here.

  • Quatela VC, Pearson JM. Management of the Aging Nose. Rhinoplasty The Experts Reference. Ed. Sclafani, AP. Thieme. 2015
  • Quatela VC, Pearson JM. The Underprojected Nose / Ptotic Tip. Master Techniques in Rhinoplasty and Nasal Reconstruction. Ed. Azizzadeh B, et al. Philadelphia, Elsevier. 2011
  • Sclafani AP, Pearson JM. Nasal Grafts & Implants. Advanced Therapy in Facial and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Ed. Thomas JR. PMPH-USA, Ltd. 2010
  • Quatela VC, Pearson JM. Management of the Aging Nose. Facial Plast Surg. 2009 Oct;25(4):215-221.
  • Romo T 3rd, Pearson JM. Nasal implants. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2008 Feb;16(1):123-32
  • Romo III T, Patel A, Pearson JM. Local Mucosal Flaps for Closure of Septal Perforations. Grabb’s Encyclopedia of Flaps, Volume I: Head and Neck, 3rd Edition. Eds. Strauch B, et al. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009. 221-224.
  • Romo T 3rd, Pearson JM, Lin HS, Patel A, Presti P, Abraham MT, Yalamanchili H.  Rhinoplasty, Postrhinoplasty Nasal Obstruction. e-medicine article. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/841574-overview. October 12, 2007.
  • Romo T 3rd, Yalamanchili H, Presti P, Pearson JM. Septal Perforation: Surgical Aspects. e-medicine article. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/878817-overview. July 24, 2007.

Rhinoplasty Experts Reference

Rhinoplasty: The Experts' Reference

Management of the Aging Nose

Master Techniques in Rhinoplasty

Master Techniques in Rhinoplasty

The Underprojected Nose / Ptotic Tip

Encyclopedia of Flaps

Grabb's Encyclopedia of Flaps
Local Mucosal Flaps for Septal Perforation

Facial Plastic surgery clinics - nasal implants

Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics of North America

Nasal implants

Advanced Therapies in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Advanced Therapy in Facial and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Nasal Grafts & Implants
Management of the Aging Nose

Facial Plastic Surgery
Management of the Aging Nose

>VIEW PHOTOS Click to view additional Before & After Photos

Reviews from Dr. Pearson's Nasal Surgery Patients

Click on Review to view larger version

Pearson Plastic Surgery
Pearson Plastic Surgery
Dr. Pearson Plastic Surgery
Dr. Pearson Plastic Surgery

Dr. Pearson Plastic Surgery
Dr. Pearson Rhinoplasty Nose Shaping


Contact Our Office Today - to schedule a consultation or service with Dr. Pearson

Earlobe Plastic Surgery FAQ


What is Septoplasty?

Septoplasty surgery is structural nasal surgery intended to improve nasal breathing. Septoplasty is performed by surgically straightening a 'deviated nasal septum' which separates the right and left nasal airways.

Will Septoplasty improve my nasal breathing related to Nasal Allergies ? How about my symptoms of recurrent sinusitis ?

No. Septoplasty may improve structural irregularities which contribute to obstructed nasal breathing. Functional nasal issues such as nasal allergy or sinusitis are generally not improved with nasal surgery. However, once the structural nasal airway is improved, many patients do report a subjective improvement in their symptoms attributed to nasal allergy or sinusitis, perhaps because there is more room for air to flow through the nasal passages.

Will Septoplasty improve nighttime snoring ? What about Sleep Apnea ?

In some cases, when the cause of nighttime mouth breathing is related to diminished nasal breathing caused by deviated nasal septum, then Septoplasty may allow for improved nasal breathing at night. In those cases, there may be diminished snoring and/or symptoms of sleep apnea. However, such improvement is not assured.

Where is Septoplasty performed?

When IV sedation or general anesthesia is used, Dr. Pearson performs nasal surgery in an accredited Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC). Compared with a hospital setting, an ASC offers the advantages of lower cost, improved privacy and personalized attention.

What type of Anesthesia is used for a Septoplasty?

Several options are available for anesthesia during your Septoplasty. Most patients receive general anesthesia.

What type of surgical scar may I expect?

In most cases of traditional Septoplasty, all surgical incisions are concealed within the nose. No external visible scar results.

Are there risks involved with Septoplasty?

Yes. During your consultation, Dr. Pearson will discuss with you the potential risks of surgery. Precautions are taken to minimize risks. Most patients do not experience complications. As a Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Pearson's surgical practice is limited to the Face, including the Nose. We believe that our high level of sub-specialization and practice focus enables us to minimize risks associated with Facial Plastic Surgery.

Am I a candidate for Septoplasty?

If you have a deviated nasal septum, which may be contributing to symptoms of nasal airway obstruction, then you may be a candidate for Septoplasty surgery. Several factors are considered as to an individual's candidacy for Septoplasty.

Ideal candidates for nasal surgery demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Are generally healthy
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco
  • Have a positive outlook
  • Have reasonable expectations about what can be accomplished with surgery
  • Understand and accept the risks and limitations of surgery


How will I look after my Septoplasty.

The same as you look prior to Septoplasty. In most cases, there is no change in the appearance of the nose following septoplasty.

What if my deviated nasal septum impacts the appearance of my nose.

In most cases, the portion of the deviated nasal septum which contributes to breathing does not impact the appearance of the nose.

In some cases, the top of the septum (dorsal septum) or the bottom of the septum (caudal septum) may be involved and may impact the nasal appearance. In those cases, Septo-Rhinoplasty or Rhinoplasty may be indicated to improve the nasal breathing and / or nasal appearance.

If I ultimately undergo Rhinoplasty in additional to Septoplasty, will I look like I had cosmetic surgery?

This is a common concern among individuals considering cosmetic surgery. In short, once any early swelling has resolved and the scar has a little time to mature, onlookers typically cannot tell that our patients underwent cosmetic nasal surgery. Dr. Pearson is sought after specifically for his ability to achieve natural results.

Natural-appearing Nasal Plastic Surgery should demonstrate a natural size, shape, and balance with surrounding facial features.

View our Photo Gallery to see a sampling of Dr. Pearson's Rhinoplasty results.


How can I prepare for Septoplasty?

During your pre-operative visit, detailed instructions for pre operative preparation are provided and discussed. Prescriptions and supplies are also provided at that time.

What type of pre-operative testing is requested?

Pre operative testing is performed within about 30 days of one's surgery date. Depending on one's age and medical history, such testing may include blood work, EKG and medical clearance by your doctor. If your doctor is unavailable, we have a trusted team of doctors and cardiologists who are available for medical and/or cardiac clearance.

How far out should I plan to schedule surgery?

In general, we schedule Septoplasty a few weeks in advance. During certain times of the year, more advance notice is needed. If you know your preferred time and availability, we can schedule further in advance to reserve your appointment.


What may I expect following my Septoplasty? (First 24 hours)

  • On the day of your procedure, detailed instructions for aftercare are provided and discussed.
  • Patients are instructed to keep the head elevated and avoid exertion for the early post-operative period.
  • No external nasal surgical dressing is used for Septoplasty.
  • Most patients resume driving the day after surgery.
  • Most patients use prescription pain medications for only the first few nights.

Recovery (after 24 hours)

  • You may resume light activity at home the day after surgery. That includes caring for oneself, preparing food, etc.
  • You should keep the internal nose moist with saline nasal spray.
  • You are advised to avoid exertion and straining activities during the early recovery period.
  • Most patients resume social appearances and attend work a few days following their procedure.
  • Any internal nasal splints are removed within 7 days.
  • By 2 weeks, full exertion including exercise is resumed.

When can I return to work / resume social appearances?

Most patients feel ready to return to work once they feel that their appearance is socially acceptable by 3-7 after their procedure (see above). Early in the post-operative period, there may be nasal discharge which may impact your appearance in public. The extent and duration of that is different for each person, but is usually resolved within 3-4 days.

When can I resume exercise?

Intense exercise is typically resumed by 2 weeks. Depending on your swelling and healing progress, Dr. Pearson will advise you when exercise may be resumed in your case.


How much does Septoplasty cost?

This is an individualized question. At the time of your visit, Dr. Pearson can evaluate your nose so that you can be provided with an accurate cost estimate. Medical insurance may cover some of the costs. However, this depends upon the details of your policy.

How do the finances work for surgery such as Septoplasty?

If you choose to proceed with surgery, we will work with you to find an acceptable date for your procedure. A deposit is requested at that time to hold your date. Our office begins the pre-operative planning at that time, including pre operative testing, pre operative meeting with Dr. Pearson to discuss specifics and logistics of your procedure, etc. Final payment is due a few weeks prior to surgery.

Contact Our Office Today - to schedule a consultation or service with Dr. Pearson

American Academy of
Facial Plastic Surgery

American Board of Facial Plastic
& Reconstructive Surgery
American College of Surgeons
Dr. Pearson Castle Connolly Top Doctor
Castle Connolly

Dr. Pearson sees patients from around the world including the following Southern California locations: Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Burbank, Culver City, El Segundo, Glendale, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, Orange County, Pacific Palisades, Palos Verdes, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Seal Beach, South Bay, Torrance, Venice, Ventura, Westchester, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills