Can we be nosey?
April 12, 2019 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Soon i will have my deviated nasal septum repaired. Any pre or post op experiences I need to be ready for or tips that proved to be good or surprising when you had a similar repair done?
posted by Freedomboy to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had a septoplasty--does that count? I can breath through both nostrils now, and it was totally worth it. It was (holy moly) seven years ago, and what I remember was the not-unbearable discomfort of those large blood clots in my nose, and not wanting to dislodge them for fear of bleeding. But it wasn't terrible, and you'll feel a little worse after the post-anesthesia buzz wears off. Three family members had this done because we had maxed out our deductible and our noses are a maze of twisty little passages. My son said it felt life changing to have the use of both nostrils. I also noticed that of the three of us, there were three different recovery experiences. My wife was the least whiny, and my son who has red hair was the most put out. I was in the middle. I hope this isn't too gross and is of some help. Oh, and maybe practice nasal irrigation with sterile saline solution before the procedure rather than learning how in media res.
posted by mecran01 at 9:49 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]

My surgery ended up being quite involved (which I was warned might happen) and the swelling in my face took months to go down (which I was also warned about). I brushed off those warnings a bit and wish I hadn't, as it might have saved me some angst. So if your doctor says anything like that? Heed her.

You might also want to peruse these two previous questions.
posted by minervous at 9:55 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]

Some things I took away from my rhinoplasty:

I had stayed overnight at the hospital, as I had some trouble breathing on my own after waking up from anesthesia. The post-op nurses were supposed to remove bandages out of my nose, but they forgot to do it. I ended up swallowing a lot of blood that I ended up vomiting. The surgeon visited me the next morning and was concerned that I had these bandages in for that amount of time. He pulled them out and I was sent home. (I am mentioning this not to put you off, but to perhaps ask your surgeon about so that you do not accidentally go through the same experience.)

I was surprised how much Tylenol helped to keep the pain under control, along with the usual pain meds. Keeping a log of what I took and when helped make sure I didn't take too much, and helped keep the pain from getting out of control. I was also given saline solution to rinse out my nose. It was a bit uncomfortable to do, but I stuck with it. The surgeon indicated that this helped the recovery go successfully.

It's been about a year and I haven't had the severe sinus infections I had before the surgery. For a few months, I sensed a kind of smoky chemical odor of rot that others did not, which was not pleasant. Using saline to rinse out the sinuses helped more or less to make this go away. I smell things more acutely than I did before, and (I am told) I don't snore as much while I sleep. I have a suspicion that some of what I now smell is imaginary, as a consequence of the surgery.

On the whole, I would have done this 20 years ago, if I could have — if I had only pushed back harder on the doctors treating my sinus infections. Good luck!
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:12 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]

I had this procedure. The weekend of recovery, before the packing could be removed, was one of the most miserable periods of my entire life. (Although the experience of having the packing removed was quite astonishing; I was reminded of one particular scene in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total Recall.) Now, years later, my septum has settled back into its old crooked position, leaving me no better off than I was before. I hope your experience is more pleasant and productive than mine.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:07 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]

I had this procedure. I also was one of the very rare few who had major post surgery bleeding such that I had to go to the ER for a nosebleed. Turns out they have these neat little air bladders that they put up your nose and inflate to stop the bleeding. Annoying and expensive, but that's pretty much the worst the postsurgery gets, and it was less bad than my appendectomy.

Overall, definitely glad I had the surgery. I have slept a lot better since then
posted by BeeDo at 11:33 AM on April 12

I am about 5 months out from a surgery that involved septoplasty, turbinate reduction, and nasal valve repair. I was advised to give it 6 months to let all the swelling go down before deciding how well the nasal obstruction symptoms have improved, so I can't comment on the success yet. (There is still some soreness when I press on my nose, so the inflammation is still probably a factor.)

I did not have packing as I expected, just an external nasal cast for a week. The pain was less severe than I thought it would be, and it was managed with Tylenol. There was very little bruising or visible swelling. They told me the recovery time would be 1-2 weeks. I took 2 weeks off from work and was glad I did, mainly because a) I was advised to sleep in an upright position and really wasn't able to get in a good night's sleep and b) there was a chronic low-grade (nonbloody) nasal discharge and I basically lived with tiny rolls of tissue lodged in my nostrils that whole time .

The surgeon told me to keep to a low sodium diet of 1.5 grams or less per day for several days after the surgery. I looooove my salty foods so I wasn't thrilled about it, but it made a HUGE difference in discomfort level (as discovered on a day when I just had to have some Pop Chips).

One surprise was that my pain was worse when I was warm or drank warm beverages. I think the associated vasodilation must have worsened the swelling that was already there. (??) That was a challenge for me because I always feel cold, but might not be a factor for others.
posted by tentacle at 12:22 PM on April 12

and maybe practice nasal irrigation with sterile saline solution before the procedure rather than learning how in media res.

This is great advice. I had turbinate reduction surgery and may need to have a deviated septum repair. There is a lot of aftercare for this sort of thing, and learning to use a neti pot now might help (and/or getting some distilled water in the house). My surgery was milder than what you're getting but I just want to add a positive note that my healing was not bad. Some people have bad bleeding and I did not. Some people have packing and I did not (some septum repair uses more of a split situation than just nose packing, ask your doc). I was given a LOT of pain meds but I only took them for the first day. I did not have a lot of problems though I was blowing gross snots out of my nose for a solid month and it took a long time to get back to what I would call normal. It never did solve my sinus problem entirely, but it definitely did for a few years.
posted by jessamyn at 12:32 PM on April 12

The aftermath of my surgery was unpleasant but tolerable (I was given a prescription for Percocet and didn’t wind up needing to take all of the pills). I can’t remember exactly how much time I took off work afterward, but it was a week at the most, time I spent mostly napping and watching movies. However, I’m another person whose nose went back to being the same as before, as though I’d never had the surgery, within months. In fairness, they did warn me this was a possibility.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:52 PM on April 12

I had a different nose surgery done, only popping in to tell you that if they tell you to ice your nose post-surgery, what you do is, you take a latex exam glove (not a rubber dishwashing glove!) and fill the middle three fingers with crushed ice + salt + water, and lay them on top and alongside your nose. That way you get the benefit of the ice where you need it and don't get a headache from having it elsewhere on your face. Good luck!
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:29 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]

The first two days post-op was really rough for me and I basically stayed in bed. After that I was ok. My surgeon recommended the Neilmed saline irrigation kit from Costco which has pre-measured paper salt packs and two squeezy bottles with a fountain tip. It was much easier than using a neti pot to irrigate everything post-op and definitely helped my recovery. Bonus: after your surgery when it feels like you’re breathing thru a jet engine, a little saline rinse can be super calming to those internal tissues that have never experienced airflow or allergens.

If you’re given the option between stents and packing, choose stents.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:32 PM on April 12

I had endoscopic septoplasty done 3 years ago to fix my deviated septum. I don't know if septoplasty is the procedure you'll be having, but if it is:

1)This review of conventional and endoscopic septoplasty compares operating time, postoperative complication rates, and functional improvement rates of each procedure. It quantifies the likelihood of various scenarios and outcomes, and, in concrete terms that compliment the anecdotal feedback received thus far, can give you some idea of what to expect.

2) In terms of my personal experience, I found that my sense of smell, and therefore sense of taste, improved postoperatively. I don't know the actual percentage, but a significant minority of people with deviated septum have some degree of olfactory, and therefore gustatory, impairment. You might be one of them, and might be pleasantly suprised, as I was, to find smells and tastes are suddenly richer than before
posted by BadgerDoctor at 3:05 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]

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