How long for a deviated septum to heal?
May 4, 2009 6:45 AM   Subscribe

How long before I should be concerned about the results of my septoplasty?

Exactly four weeks ago I had a septoplasty as well as a reduction in turbinate size done. After reading around on the net a bit it seems like everyone has a different time-frame for healing. I'll start off with why I had the surgery done...

Ever since I could remember I could only breathe out of one nostril at a time. I also snored and it just wasn't possible for me to breathe out of both nostrils. I went to an ENT a couple months back and he called it bi-lateral congestion which seemed to hit the nail on the head.

During the past four weeks I have seen a lot of progress. My girlfriend mentions that I am not snoring anymore and my breathing is improved a bit. I am now able to breathe out of both nostrils probably 75 percent of the time while sitting/standing up but when I lay down on my stomach or either side it goes back to bilateral. It's almost like there is something in there that gravity is effecting and it's moving over and blocking a nasal passage when I'm not sitting up-right. There has also been this strange smell in my nose every since that I just call peaches because it's like the constant smell of a peach fruit cup in my nose! Maybe that's just the healing and scabs on the inside.

The only reason I am concerned is because I am not blowing out anymore blood or anything so it seems like it's almost done healing. When I went in a couple weeks after the surgery my doc said all looked well and he wasn't concerned.

I'm interested in any comments/suggestions/advice that you may have. A peach smell isn't the worst side-effect but still having congestion definitely is.
posted by jwfree to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It took months for me to feel back to normal after I had nasal surgery several years back. Once I was fully healed, however, I felt fantastic.
posted by decathecting at 8:08 AM on May 4, 2009

I had turbinate reduction a few years ago, and essentially ended up with no real change in my breathing. I've had friends who have had the full septoplasty and had the same experience, but with a much longer and more painful recovery time, which is why I've never gone the extra step of having my deviated septum corrected. So it's very possible to not get much of a result from these procedures.
posted by MsMolly at 8:20 AM on May 4, 2009

Well my breathing is definitely a lot better than it was. No use in panicking yet. It's only been a month so hopefully that's just some swelling on the inside still and will keep slowing going down. If the peach smell goes away and it's still a problem then I'll know I'm in trouble.
posted by jwfree at 8:37 AM on May 4, 2009

I haven't had the surgery, but the last time I broke my nose, it took several months for the inflammation to comletely disappear. It's been fine since.
posted by kamikazegopher at 9:07 AM on May 4, 2009

It's very common to grow polyps during the first six months or so after septoplasty/turbinectomy. You need your ENT to peer up into your newly accessible sinus openings to see whether polyps are a problem for you. Treatment for polyps may be a course of prednisone, which is unpleasant and (fortunately) did not work for me, or a combination of antihistamines and steroid nasal spray, such as Nasonex, which did work.

After my septoplasty/turbinectomy/polyp removal in 1995, my ENT scraped out scar tissue during each of several follow-up visits. It was excruciating, but he said it was necessary, and he's well-regarded enough that a couple of my other doctors remarked on how good they knew he was. He recommended nasal irrigation during the healing process, because it greatly reduces the formation of scar tissue.
posted by Ery at 9:14 AM on May 4, 2009

How was your sense of smell before the surgery? Can you currently smell other smells like coffee, grass, perfume, curry etc. when they are present or does the whole world smell like one giant peach?

I'm not familiar with your surgery, but I have an acute sense of smell, and none of the things I would guess are up your nose smell like peaches to me. For me, blood can smell metallic, fishy, meaty or fecal. Mucus smells a little briney, and a little musky. Just a weird thought, but is it possible that the peach odor is actually the absence of mucus/congestion, allowing you to perceive a full odor spectrum?
posted by ladypants at 10:42 AM on May 4, 2009

Ery: The best thing for me may be to go back and just have him take a look. I have some Flonase that I tried post-surgery but have been hesitant to take it because I want to know if the surgery worked versus using Flonase and it works.

ladypants: Sense of smell before the surgery was sub-par. It has greatly improved since the surgery. I know I say it smells like peaches (peaches that have been out awhile) but my best guess would be mucus. There is still a bit coming out, it's just not bloody anymore.
posted by jwfree at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2009

I had septoplasty surgery recently and my ENT had me come in every week or two, for two months post surgery. You would not BELIEVE the things she was still pulling out month afterwards. She told me scabs/adhesions are a totally normal part of the healing process. I would almost guarantee this is what you are experiencing. Get a follow-up with your ENT so you don't risk an infection.
posted by for_serious at 12:50 PM on May 4, 2009

I don't know if this applies to your situation, but I suffer from extremely dry nose/nasal passages, and I regularly get a weird smell (especially at night when I go to bed) in my nose. I'd say that 60-70% of the time it's a "peachy" smell, the rest of the time it's similar to burned plastic, if that makes any sense. When I moisturize with Ocean spray or nasal gel, the aroma goes away. So maybe you're experiencing some nasal dryness that's causing the odd odor....?
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:03 PM on May 4, 2009

Went back for another follow up and he removed quite a bit dried up matter. Nostrils are feeling better now, no more peach smell, and still no snoring. If you have the surgery done, don't just settle for a follow up a week later, make sure you have one at least a month later as well!

Thanks for all the responses and help.
posted by jwfree at 2:35 PM on May 7, 2009

« Older Help me find new software as it gets released!   |   ouch Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.