Is it worth having surgery for my deviated septum?
August 26, 2004 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Surgery for a Deviated Septum? Is it worth it? What are your experiences?

I have a severely deviated septum. MY ENT doc is confident he can repair it (mostly). He said there would be no packing, just swelling for 2 weeks after. Is the pain worth it? I have heard it from some people that it is a waste of time.
posted by internal to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
if it causes you to snore so loudly that people around you have trouble sleeping, then get it done right away.
posted by alicila at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2004

I had it done and it seemed to work. I breath better through my right side, have fewer sinus infections, and nasal allergies don't seem as bad (although I still use nasonex). As for the pain, while I didn't get the double black eyes that many get, it certainly wasn't pleasant. I'd say it was worth it though.
posted by batboy at 12:13 PM on August 26, 2004

I had this done a few years back and it improved my quality of life so much that I wish someone had gotten it done to me as a kid. I've had friends whose sinus procedures for vague problems didn't seem to do much for them, but for something as clear-cut as a deviated septum it seems worth the attempt.

I had also heard awful stories about the extraction of the cotton packing afterwards -- but my surgeon assured me that this was barbaric and nobody reputable does that anymore. Instead he temporarily sutured two plastic splints up inside my nose. (I had no idea how big they were until they came out. It was reminiscent of a scene from "Total Recall." But not painful.)

I never got black eyes, but I don't bruise easily. I was back at work in a couple of days. After about a week of healing, most discomfort was gone, and the splints were removed. A week after that, I could breathe so freely it blew my mind. I'd never known what it was like to breathe vigorously through my nose and not resort to open-mouth panting during exertion. Suddenly, air seemed to whoosh through my nose like in a wind tunnel.

I used to get regular sinus infections, with every little cold or allergy flareup. I'd had so many antibiotics there was concern that I'd become immune. I haven't had a sinus infection since this procedure fixed my drainage issues.

I hope you have the same success I did.
posted by Tubes at 12:23 PM on August 26, 2004

I had it done about 5 years ago and it helped me out A LOT. I've hardly had a sinus infection since (used to have the chronically before), breathe much better, and very few migranes... which I also had a lot before the surgery and was the #1 reason for me having it in the first place.

That said, it was't the best week afterwards. Swollen eyes... and the packing... ugh.
posted by auzten at 1:43 PM on August 26, 2004

I had it done a couple of years ago. I've had my nose broken a couple of times playing sports, and while I didn't care about the kinks and bulges (I actually kinda liked them), the fact that I couldn't breathe with my mouth shut was not too much fun.

It hurt like hell. It was worse than arthroscopic knee surgery and breaking my foot combined. The packing coming out felt like the scene from Total Recall, and I was home for a week and at half-productivity for two at best.

It was worth it. I don't get sinus infections nearly as much, I sleep much better, and I don't get as many colds either. It didn't really change anything else. Oh, and I can breathe through my nose now.

Basically, if you can spare two weeks of pain and/or discomfort without going insane, do it. It helps to have someone look after you, too.
posted by sauril at 2:35 PM on August 26, 2004

I have a deviated septum. When last I asked my doctor about it, he was very cautious. He said there were no guarantees about the outcome and that causing damage to the septum that was worse than before was a possibility. That kind of put me off.

OTOH, if robbers ever tape my mouth shut when I have a cold, I'll probably die, because one of my nostrils is near-sealed. I'm glad you asked this question - the answers are making me wonder whether I should reinvestigate this.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:30 PM on August 26, 2004

It hurt like utter hell. Put me out of action for a fortnight, and the cotton packing coming out sucked. Mine hurt so bad that I was taken back for morphine etc.

But it looks a bit better, if not ideal, and I guess my breathing is better. Breathing-wise it is gradually heading back towards just as bad as it was before.

I'd probably do it again, thanks to the fewer colds/much easier hayfever in summer. Although it HURT. LOTS.
posted by bonaldi at 6:01 PM on August 26, 2004

Ugh. I'm scheduled to do this some time in the fall, so I appreciate the frank info, as well.
posted by LairBob at 8:01 PM on August 26, 2004

When I had this operation done, I hung out - as a late teenager - in a kid's ward and raided the ward fridge for popsicles while reading Dostoevsky's "The Idiot".

Then, they pulled about 3 feet of gauze from my nose.

The procedure didn't help me a damn bit.

Years, and better dietary habits mitigated my "deviated septum" woes that were caused by allergies and - I'm pretty sure - also exaccerbated by Lead poisoning.

Now I can breathe through my nose most of the time.

"if it causes you to snore so loudly that people around you have trouble sleeping, then get it done right away." - alicila, I still snore like hell.
posted by troutfishing at 10:35 PM on August 30, 2004

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