Nasal surgery includes any surgery done on the outside or inside of the nose. A common type of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, nasal surgery may be done for the following:

  • Improve breathing
  • Correct congenital or acquired deformities
  • Change size or shape of nose (cosmetic)
  • Repair nasal injuries

What are the different types of nasal surgery?

The following are some of the different types of nasal surgery:

  • Septoplasty. Septoplasty is the surgical correction of defects and deformities of the nasal septum (the partition between the nostrils). Septoplasty may be done to:
    • Correct a deviated septum. A deviated septum is a condition in which the partition (septum) between the nostrils is not in a straight vertical alignment. A deviated septum can cause obstructed airflow. A deviated septum can be caused by a birth defect or injury.
    • Correct cleft defects that affect the nose and nasal cavity
  • Rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is the surgical repair of a defect  or appearance of the nose, including reshaping or resizing the nose. Rhinoplasty may be done at the same time as septoplasty. It may be done to:
    • Change the size of the nose
    • Change the shape of the nose
    • Narrow the nostrils
    • Change the angle between the nose and lips

Possible complications associated with nasal surgery

Possible complications of nasal surgery may include:

  • Infection
  • Nosebleed
  • Anesthesia problems
  • Loss of nasal support

About the procedure

Although each procedure varies, generally, nasal surgeries follow this process:

  • Location options may include:
    • Surgeon’s office-based surgical facility
    • Outpatient surgery center
    • Hospital outpatient
    • Hospital inpatient
  • Anesthetic options may include:
    • Local anesthesia with intravenous sedation 
    • General anesthesia
  • Average length of procedure: about 2 hours
  • Recuperation period:
    • Usually up and around in a few days
    • Usually return to school or sedentary work a week or so after surgery
    • Surgeon will provide guidelines for resuming normal activities
  • Some possible short-term side effects of surgery:
    • A splint may be applied to nose to help maintain the new shape.
    • Nasal packs or soft plastic splints may be placed inside the nostrils to stabilize the septum.
    • The face will feel puffy.
    • The nose may ache.
    • You may have a dull headache, swelling or bruising around the eyes.
    • A small amount of bleeding is normal in the first few days.
    • Small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin’s surface.
  • Final results:
    • Healing is a slow and gradual process. Some swelling may be present for months, especially in the tip of the nose. Final results of nasal surgery may not be apparent for a year or more.
    • When a traditional open surgical technique is used, or surgery is done to narrow flared nostrils, small scars will be located on the base of the nose. The scars usually are not noticeable. Scarring is not visible when rhinoplasty is done from inside the nose.