A nasal splint is a device that is meant specifically to fit into or on the nose for the purpose of providing support. The nose is made up of cartilage and bone that can be broken by accident or injury, or it may be altered during surgery. When this happens, a splint is often necessary for a short period during the healing process.
Typically, a nasal splint may be made from either plastic or metal. Depending on the type of surgery and where the splint is needed, the material may be rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. They are frequently made of metal, plastic soft foam or silicone. Metal splints are for external use and may be padded for comfort.
In addition to metal, foam or rigid plastic splints are primarily the type of nasal splint that is placed over the outside of the nose. The primary purpose of rigid, or external splint is to prevent the nose from moving and to help the cartilage maintain its shape post surgery or after an injury. A patient wearing this type of splint must keep it on for up to ten days. An external nasal splint is frequently used following a rhinoplasty. This is a type of surgical procedure that alters the shape and overall appearance of the person's nose.
More flexible nasal splints are generally made of a type of soft plastic or silicone and are placed inside of the nose as opposed to the outside of it, for the sake of stability. This is typically necessary when a procedure called septoplasty is performed. Septoplasty is a procedure that is done on the septum, or the part of the nose that divides the two nostrils. It is often performed on noses that have been broken or if the septum is deviated. The splint is inserted to help hold the septum in the correct place.
Occasionally, a person with may start having difficulties breathing through the nose after a soft nasal splint has been inserted. This often occurs if dried blood begins to build up on the splint. He may also experience some discomfort, particularly if the splint is held in place by a stitch in the septum. In addition to comfort, he may also notice a change in the appearance of his nose. Splints may make the nose appear wider than it actually is, however the change is only temporary and once the splints are removed the nose will return to its normal size.