Do you struggle to breathe through your nose or wake up exhausted from snoring or sleep apnea? Various nasal conditions, such as a deviated septum or enlarged turbinates, can cause these issues. While non-surgical treatments can provide some relief, in some cases, Alexis Furze, MD, may recommend nasal and breathing surgery to help alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
Before surgery, your doctor will establish whether you are a good candidate for nasal and breathing surgery and develop a customized treatment plan.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your doctor may opt for nasal and breathing surgery:
- Deviated septum: The septum is the bone and cartilage wall dividing the nostrils. When the septum has deviated, it can cause breathing difficulties, congestion, and snoring. Surgery may sometimes be necessary to straighten the septum and improve airflow.
- Turbinate hypertrophy: The turbinates are small, bony structures in the nose that help filter and humidify the air. However, they can block the nasal passages when they become enlarged, leading to breathing difficulties and congestion. Surgery can help reduce the size of the turbinates and improve airflow.
- Nasal polyps: Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths that can develop in the nasal passages, causing congestion, difficulty breathing, and a reduced sense of smell. Surgery can remove these growths and improve symptoms.
- Chronic sinusitis: Chronic sinusitis is when the sinuses become inflamed and infected, causing pain, pressure, and congestion. Surgery may sometimes be necessary to improve drainage and alleviate symptoms.
- Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Various factors, including a deviated septum, enlarged turbinates, or other structural issues in the nasal passages, can cause it. Surgery may be necessary to address these underlying issues and improve breathing during sleep.
Aftercare is essential to the recovery process following nasal and breathing surgery. Following your doctor’s instructions ensures a smooth and speedy recovery. Some general aftercare instructions include:
- Rest and avoid strenuous activities: You will need to rest as much as possible after surgery to give your body time to heal. Avoid strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or exercise, for at least a few weeks after surgery.
- Take pain medication as directed: You could feel pain and discomfort after surgery. To help you manage this, your doctor might recommend pain medication. Make sure you take the medication exactly as prescribed.
- Keep your head elevated: Keeping your head elevated can help reduce swelling and promote healing. You may need to sleep with your head elevated for a few days after surgery.
- Use saline spray or rinse: Your doctor may recommend using a saline spray or rinse to help keep your nasal passages moist and promote healing.
- Avoid blowing your nose: Blowing your nose can increase pressure in your nasal passages and disrupt healing. Avoid blowing your nose for at least a few days after surgery.
If you are experiencing nasal issues, it is advisable to consult with your facial plastic surgeon to explore your options and determine the best course of treatment.