The nasal septum is the vertical wall or partition that divides the nose into two nasal cavities. It is made up of cartilage in the front and thin bone (perpendicular plate of the ethmoid and vomer) in the back. The nasal cavities and nasal septum are lined with a thin mucosa.
Sometimes the septum is bent as a result of birth trauma. The nasal septum is usually straight and remains straight in childhood, however, as age progresses, there is a tendency for the septum to bend to one side or the other, or for an irregular shelf of cartilage or bone to develop (Septal spur). Often, there is no history of injury to account for the irregular septum. In some individuals, the septum loses its midline position during the growth process rather than as the result of injury. It is rare to find adults having a septum that is completely straight.
Septoplasty is an operation to correct a deformity of the nasal septum. It is sometimes referred to as submucous resection of the septum (SMR) or septal reconstruction. SMR is not done these days as it involves radical removal of cartilage and can end up in a saddle nose later.
The main purpose of septoplasty is to improve nasal airway, but it may also be performed along with Rhinoplasty, Nasal polypectomy, FESS and in some cases of epistaxis (nose bleed).
When the nasal septum is deformed, there is no medicine that will cause it to be straightened, so surgery is the only solution to this problem.
Septoplasty is performed under general anesthesia. A small incision is made inside the nose. The mucosal lining of the septum is detached from the cartilage and bones of the septum. The deviated portions of the septum are removed or straightened. The nasal lining mucous membrane is replaced. Splints or packs are placed in the nose for a few days. These splints / packs have an n airway that allows the patient to breathe easier.