What Are the Potential Risks if A Physician Uses Dissolvable Packing After A Septoplasty?

Doctor Answers 4

Dissolvable Packing After Septoplasty

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I see no real risk to using most of the commercially available "dissolvable" pacing materials after septoplasty.  These include Gelfoam, Sinufoam, Merogel and a few others.  They are all pretty much gone in a week.  I hesitate to use Surgicel, as this takes a bit longer to go away, and I'm a little concerned about it possibly promoting synechia formation.

Generally, I do not use any packing after septoplasty alone, and I use Gelfoam if I've reduced the inferior turbinates at the same time.

Manchester Facial Plastic Surgeon

What Are the Potential Risks of my Physician Using Dissolvable Packing After my Septoplasty?

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Not any risks of using Gelfoam as a dissolving packing after a Septoplasty but I have used small telfa packing, overnight, removing them the first post op day.  This combined with a single mattress 4-0 chromic suture through the septum has proven effective for the past 20 years in my practice.  The benefit of is the airway is open the very next morning after the Septoplasty because the packing is removed.

Risk of nasal packing

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I assume you are talking about a "packing" like "Gelfoam" or similar.

These tend to dissolve in a reasonable time, but have the advantage of absorbing some of the blood and to "brace " the operated site.

I am not aware of any risks from this type of dissolving packing material.

Risks of Nasal Packing after Septoplasty

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The purpose of nasal packing after Septoplasty is to exert pressure on the operated septum and lower the risk of bleeding in between the septal linings. This can be accomplished by placing stiff silastic splints (some of which come with breathing channels - Doyle) or by avoiding splints altogether by stitching the mucosal lining of the septum to the opposite side with a quilting stitch which holds them together without the need for external pressure. All packing must be removed immediately if the patient complains of sudden fever, foul drainage or odor from the packs as toxic shock has been reported with nasal packs.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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