What is Septorhinoplasty?

Septorhinoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure which involves correction of defects inside the nose with the option to make cosmetic changes to the nose at the same time. Performing both surgeries at once can reduce risks for the patient by limiting time in the operating room and under anesthesia. This procedure can be used to repair a deviated nasal septum, to address obstructions inside the nose which cause problems with breathing, and to straighten a crooked nose. It is performed by a plastic surgeon, and may be done by a surgeon who specializes specifically in facial surgery, or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Patients usually seek out septorhinoplasty as a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure, with the goal of correcting a problem which causes discomfort or medical issues. Most commonly, this procedure is performed because the patient has difficulty breathing. However, septorhinoplasty can also include cosmetic surgery to change the appearance of the nose for cosmetic reasons, making it a hybrid procedure.

The dual nature of many septorhinoplasties can make them challenging for insurance companies. While insurance will usually cover medically necessary plastic surgery such as a deviated septum repair, they often exclude cosmetic procedures. This procedure, which straddles the divide, can sometimes result in brisk arguments about whether or not a patient is entitled to coverage and benefits. For patients, it is safer to have one surgery than two, and it is worth arguing with the insurance company for coverage.

Before a septorhinoplasty takes place, the surgeon meets with the patient to discuss the procedure and to talk about goals. If the patient also wants cosmetic work, the surgeon will go over the intended work with the patient to make certain that both parties understand what is expected. On the day of the surgery, the patient will be placed under a general anesthetic and brought into an operating room for the procedure. Post surgery, several hours usually need to be spent in the hospital for monitoring, and then the patient can be released.

It can take several weeks to heal after a septorhinoplasty. The nose must be carefully protected from impact and pressure during this period, and patients may need to wear splints and bandages which can be removed in the days following surgery during follow up appointments with the surgeon. During septorhinoplasty recovery, the patient usually cannot bend, engage in heavy lifting, or participate in sports. The patient should also prepare for follow up x-rays once most of the healing appears to be complete, so that the surgeon can confirm that the internal repairs to the nose were successful.

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