While medications can be used to treat the majority of patients with nasal congestion, there are many people that simply cannot breathe through their noses despite these medications. Patients with difficulty breathing through their noses also complain of difficulty sleeping, snoring, and dry mouth. These patients benefit greatly from surgical techniques to improve their nasal obstruction.
In patients where the nasal congestion is significant, often the nasal septum (the wall that divides the left and right sides of the nose) is deviated. The turbinates (scrolls of bone in the nose that warm and humidify the air we breathe) may also have bony and/or soft tissue enlargement. In this situation an endoscopic nasal septoplasty and turbinate reduction can be performed at our surgery center under general anesthesia or under local anesthesia with sedation. Surgical endoscopes give us an excellent view of the anatomy, allowing removal of only excess tissue and minimizing injury to the normal tissues. Nasal packing is rarely used and patients frequently breathe thru their noses immediately. The fully opened nose may not be apparent for 1-3 weeks.
There is almost no pain, bruising or swelling associated with this operation. Most ear, nose, and throat surgeons that perform this operation use packing for up to 4 days that is very uncomfortable. We find this to be completely unnecessary and not associated with any significant increase in post-operative bleeding. We have been successfully using this technique for many years on hundreds of patients. We urge patients that are considering having nasal surgery with the use of packing to talk with us and our post-surgical patients.
We obtain great satisfaction when our patients can breathe clearly through their noses after surgery. They report more sound sleep, improved ability to exercise, and overall improvement in the quality of their lives.