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Septoplasty/ Submucous resection

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - What it is

This operation involves straightening the nasal septum. A deviated septum can happen naturally or can be caused by an injury.

The most common reason for this operation is if you have persistent blocked nose that is resistant to medical treatment. Other indications include obstructive sleep apnoea, persistent nose bleeds, sinusitis or persistent headaches as a result of the deviated nasal septum. This operation may also be done in order to gain access into the nasal cavity or sinuses, as part of another operation. 

What does it involve?

Septoplasty/ submucous resection is performed under general anaesthesia. 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 is replaced and the incision may be closed using dissolvable stitches. 

Nasal packs may be left inside your nose for 24 – 48 hours following the surgery to stop the bleeding from the operative site. The nasal packs will prevent you from breathing through your nose and may cause tearing. You may also have splints (thin plastic sheets) inside the nose to support the septum. These are normally taken out after a week in the clinic during your follow up review. 

Risk and complications:

Excessive bleeding (6%)

If this happens, packs may need to be placed in your nostrils. Bleeding may occur up to 14 days after surgery. Rarely is a second operation needed to stop the bleeding.

Numbness at the tip of the nose or upper front teeth (2.8%)

This usually resolves within several months following the procedure and is usually due to injury to small nerves in the area. Rarely, the numbness may persist.

Nasal crusting

Crusting in the nose may last from two to about six weeks after surgery due to dried nasal

discharge. Prolonged crusting is rare; however, it can occur and may last up to one year. Crusting is usually reduced by the use of humidification and saline nasal spray.

Change in appearance

Between 0.5% and 3% of patients may suffer from a ‘saddle nose deformity’ that can be corrected with another surgery. This complication is more likely to occur if the cartilage of your nose is inherently weak.

Septal hematoma

This occurs when bleeding persists underneath the skin flaps of the septum. This must be identified within 24 hours and drained in order to prevent later saddling of the nose. This is a rare complication.

Septal perforation (1%)

Septal perforation (hole in the septum that connects the two sides of the nose) may occur. A septal perforation may be associated with a whistling sound, bleeding, and/or crusting. A severe septal perforation may alter the shape of the external nose, which can be corrected with another surgery.


Infection (septal abscess) occurs in up to 2.5% of patients. If this occurs, an operation (drainage of the abscess) may be required. 

Duration of Surgery

Approximately: 1-2 hours

Duration of Hospital Stay

Average: 1-2 days

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - Symptoms

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - How to prevent?

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - Causes and Risk Factors

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - Diagnosis

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - Treatments

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - Preparing for surgery

Septoplasty/ Submucous resection - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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