Septoplasty is a surgical correction of the wall that divides the two nostrils (nasal septum) performed to improve breathing, relieve nasal obstructions, remove benign or malignant tumors, or reconstruct the septum after previous surgery or trauma.
The nasal septum is the wall or partition that divides the nasal cavity. It is composed of both bone and cartilage, and covered with a mucous membrane. An injury or malformation of this septum can produce a deviated septum, resulting in a defect where one part of the nasal cavity is smaller than the other. This can obstruct airflow, cause contact nasal and sinus pain, and lead to frequent nosebleeds (epistaxis). Septal deviations are very common in the community, but when they start to cause symptoms people often seek medical advice.
Occasionally, the deviation may obstruct breathing, block the normal flow of mucus from the sinuses during a cold or nasal virus, or prevent proper drainage of the sinuses resulting in chronic or recurrent acute sinusitis. In some cases nasal surgery may be necessary to relieve the obstruction and reduce irritation or infection in the nose and sinuses.
Surgical correction of the nasal obstruction caused by a deformed or malpositioned septum is called septoplasty. Some degree of septal deviation is normal and varies among individuals, therefore septoplasty is only performed if the deviated septum is causing symptoms that are not controlled by medical treatment.