After nasal septoplasty, nasal obstruction should be evaluated at every postoperative visit.
It is very important that at every postoperative visit, evaluation be made about how the septum is healing and how the operation has improved the air flow through the nose.
Typically, most rhinoplasty surgeons see the patient at five to seven days after the operation. If there has been some nasal packing or an airway placed, these would certainly be removed by that time. Then, follow-up examinations are typically done at several weeks later, and then, perhaps, another month or so later.
This schedule presumes that all is well, and the surgeon is merely observing to make sure that, indeed, there are no problems occurring that you could not detect.
The best judge of the success of the surgery is you! If you now recognize that your breathing is better than before surgery, and that you are not having any problems with:
Whatever else caused you to have the surgery
Then, the surgery is deemed successful.
If for some reason you notice that the improvement is not what you expected, then, this calls for reevaluation by the surgeon. Certainly, it is hard to make the call in the first 10 days after surgery. But, after that, swelling goes down rapidly, and you should see the kind of breathing that you wanted to have.
We generally consider 100 days to be the basic healing for any operation on the body - whether that be nasal septoplasty, rhinoplasty, turbinate resection, (or even inguinal hernia, or cardiac surgery.) There is something magic about that 100 day, or three-month, mark, by which time Nature has finished its basic healing work.
Robert Kotler, MD, FACS
Facial Plastic Surgeon
Author, SECRETS OF A BEVERLY HILLS COSMETIC SURGEON
Author, THE ESSENTIAL COSMETIC SURGERY COMPANION
Depending on how much work was done, your surgeon will tell you when he/she wants to see you again postoperatively. Sometimes this will be about a week afterwards. As there are no external incisions, usually it heals very well. If there is any doubt, please contact your surgeon's office.
Many patients will notice an improvement in their airway during the first few days after surgery. However, swelling will occur in the airway causing some degree of obstruction. The swelling will continue to improve over the following weeks and months causing your airway to improve. The exact time when all the swelling is gone is difficult ot say.
Evaluation of Nasal Obstruction After a Septoplasty operation?
Nasal Obstruction can be both a mechanic (real physical blockage) or Physiologic obstruction. Before surgery, you should be evaluated for a medically reversible cause(s) of nasal obstruction. If the obstruction is caused by a reversible allergy, treatment with immune therapy MAY correct the allergy as well as the nasal swelling related to it. On the other hand, if you have severe septal deviation with enlargement of the turbinate, a septoplasty by itself may not correct the obstruction but BOTH the septum and the turbinates may have to be operated on. I assume this was not the case with you. Finally, in some cases after years of being used to the sensation of dragging air in through an obstruction, complete relief of the obstruction and lack of resistance to air may feel to some like a complete blockage of the nose. If you are worried, see your surgeon and have him look up your nose to advise you on your situation.
Peter A Aldea, MD
At the time of surgery your doctor will attempt to eliminate the airway obstruction by doing the septolasty. Then swelling will cause a new obstruction as you start to heal. After a couple of weeks this should begin to subside and better breathing should be present. Your well chosen expert will be examinig you and following this progress all along the way.