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Septoplasty Recovery - Time, Tips, How Long?

Quite sure I need a septoplasty surgery but worried about the recovery process. I saw on realself about rhinoplasty recovery, is it similar with septplasty? What do i need to consider about recovering: downtime, medications, pain, etc? thank you so very much for your expert opinions.

Doctor Answers 19

First 48 Hours Will Be The Worst

Recovery following septoplasty for most patients is less difficult then they expect. In the immediate post-operative period, they can anticipate pain, swelling, bruising and congestion associated with difficulty breathing through the nose. Pain following septoplasty is easily controlled with narcotic pain medications, in the first 48 hours.After 48 hours, most patients are switched to Tylenol.
Patients typically have bruising and swelling following septoplasty.This usually last one to two weeks following surgery.The swelling and bruising obviously affect the patient’s appearance post-operatively.It also leads to swelling of the internal nasal structures, which leads to congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose.
Most patients are surprised by how good they feel two to three days following surgery.Depending upon their employment, social situation and the severity of bruising and swelling following surgery, patients may not be ready to work for one to two weeks following surgery.
Most routine activities are resumed in seven to ten days and strenuous activities can be resumed in four to six weeks following surgery.Small amounts of residual swelling may persist for three to four months following septoplasty.
After 48 hours, the typical septoplasty patient feels good, but continues to have some bruising and swelling.Although they feel better, they may not feel good enough to go out in public because of their appearance.The swelling and bruising usually resolves in one to two weeks and at that time patients are able to resume most of their normal activities.

Septoplasty Recovery

If all of the work is done internally, there is usually a splint inside of your nose that is removed in a week. Recovery is usually more streamlined as there is no external nasal splint.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Recovery following Septorhinoplasty

Patients go home with an external splint or special tape.  The splint is usually removed in 7-10 days. Internal soft silicone splints may be used after septoplasty and remain in place for 1-3 weeks.
Initial discomfort is easily controlled with oral medication and head elevation.
Majority of swelling and bruising subsides progressively over 2-4 weeks.
External sutures (if any) are removed in 4-6 days. Internal sutures dissolve spontaneously.
An early result is evident in 3 months.  Final results become evident in 12-14 months which is the time necessary for complete tissue softening.
Areas of sensitivity or numbness will slowly resolve; the tip of the nose will feel stiff or “woody” and this will improve over the first several months.  Other temporary conditions may include some airway or sinus blockage, nasal drainage, lumps and irregularities.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Septoplasty- what to expect

Generally speaking a simple septoplasty is fast and relatively painless. Sometimes they can be complex and involve more extesive cartilage and  bone  work. Either way there you may have a minor ''packing" , a piece of cotton or gauze. This usually comes out in 24-48 hours. Should the septum require silicone plates for stability these are usually removed in a week by your surgeon.Initially you may still feel the air is not moving through your nose because swelling of the soft tissue. This will resolve itself in a couple of weeks. I encourage my patients to use Afrin to decrease swelling and Ocean spray to assist in mosturizing the inside of the nose. Cleaning of the openings of dried blood can be done with a Q-tip and hydrogen peroxide

.In any event, you need to be seen in  person  by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to assist you in making a decision as to what is best for you. I hope that this is helpful for you . Jon Sattler, MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Glendora, California.



Jon Sattler, MD
Glendora Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Septoplasty recovery

I routinely recommend the following: If surgery occurs on a friday you will feel under the weather through the weekend.  By monday you will feel very comfortable with normal activities and answering texts, emails, and phone calls if you choose.  Ideally, take one full week off from work.  At the end of that week the splints (plastic pieces that hold the septal lining back together) are removed.  At this time, resume full work schedule and consider light activity only.  Strenous activity can begin again at 2 weeks.  You will have no bruising or external signs of surgery from just a septoplasty so the recovery is quicker than a rhinoplasty.  It is common to have numbness at the tip of the nose and even the front teeth for a short period of time measured in weeks.

Shepherd G. Pryor, MD
Scottsdale Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Septoplasty Recovery

The recovery from Septoplasty is short and very well tolerated. There is generally little to no pain. While there may be a splint in place, it is not necessary for large bulky nasal packing to be placed. The only real annoying part of the recovery is nasal congestion that will be present for the first 5-7 days after surgery. At your first post-operative appointment, generally you should expect to leave breathing great. Septoplasty is a almost always a very well tolerated, very successful surgery in expert hands. 

Julian W. Dixon, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews


Usually recovery from a septoplasty (alone) is quite quick. You may have a splint in place (I do not use packing) for about 5-7 days. During that time, you will want to minimize your physical activity. After 5 -7 days, the splint is removed. At that time, you usually can notice the improvement in your breathing.

Sandy Sule, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Septoplasty Details - What You Need to Know

The septum is the wall that divides your nose into 2 sides. When it is twisted it can narrow the nasal passage on one or both sides and cause nasal blockage. This sometimes can require surgical correction - a septoplasty.

A septoplasty is typically accomplished through the inside of the nose. A small incision is made on the front, inside one of your nostrils. This allows the surgeon to lift the lining of the septum off of the underlying bone and cartilage. These structural elements are then sculpted, repositioned, and/or some portions removed to straighten the septum. The lining is then draped back down onto the newly straightened septum, and dissolvable sutures are placed to secure this all back together. The incision is closed, also with dissolvable sutures. This is typically a short operation.

I do not use nasal packing in these cases, and recovery is typically uneventful. Pain is typically minor. We find that patients who have a deskjob usually can return to work in a few days. We ask patients to refrain from exercise for 2 weeks, to allow for proper healing, and then to gradually resume exercise under our direction. In a septoplasty as described, there is no bruising/black and blue, no change to the appearance of the nose, no external splint or cast.

Some patients have more complex deviated septums, where the septum is twisted in the front. In these cases you can see and feel the front edge of the septum protruding into the nostril (see the web reference link). These more complex deviated septums may require a small incision on the columella, the skin between the nostrils. This kind of septoplasty will change the appearance of the nostrils - they will become straighter and more symmetric.

Also, many patients request cosmetic changes at the same time as a septoplasty. In the web reference provided, two such patients are shown. One patient requested correction of his deviated septum and also a rhinoplasty, with removal of his nasal bump. The other patient requested correction of his deviated septum and also correction of his twisted nasal tip.

Daniel G. Becker, MD
Voorhees Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Septoplasty recovery process

You may have minor swelling and bruising and if you have internal splints, they are usually removed in a week. You would be given pain medication and the surgery is tolerated well.  

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Septoplasty recovery

Septoplasty without rhinoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery of the internal nose.  Therefore there is less swelling and downtime.  Pain is rarely an issue, especially since I rarely use any packing.  There will be some congestion and that gradually improves.  3-5 days off work is not unusual though some people may take more time off due to their work demands.

When being evaluated for septoplasty it is important that you work with a surgeon who can fully assess your external nose and sinus passages as well.  This is because in fact the septum is very often not the only cause of nasal symptoms and it may be possible that other treatments or procedure are needed to achieve an optimum result.

Christopher Cote, MD
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.