While nose jobs are frequently seen only as cosmetic procedures, performed to change the shape of the nose, they can also be performed as treatment for several medical concerns. Of these, a deviated septum is the most common medical issue calling for rhinoplasty. A deviated septum is a common physical disorder of a nose. This conditions is often caused by a blow to the face or other trauma. It may also be congenital, either caused by genetics or by compression of the nose during childbirth.
What is a deviated septum?
In patients with a deviated septum, the wall of bone and cartilage separating the nostrils has become displaced or bent. Normally, the septum is in the center of the nose, dividing it into two symmetrical halves. With a deviated septum, the cartilage leans to the left or right, obstructing the nasal passage. Common complains of patients with a deviated septum include headaches, bloody noses, difficulty breathing, snoring, and sleep apnea.
In many cases, this condition can be treated with septoplasty, a minor surgical procedure. During this procedure, the surgeon cuts away the part of the septum obstructing the nasal passage. Performed through the nostrils, it does not require incisions on the outside of the nose. A septoplasty takes only about an hour to perform. In more serious cases, a full rhinoplasty may be necessary.
A reconstructive nose job is performed to fix a deviated septum that requires more surgical work than is possible with septoplasty alone. This is a common treatment for those whose deviated septum is caused by a blow to the face, which may also have resulted in a broken nose or other injuries to the nose which may be corrected through rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty to fix a deviated septum can include both functional and aesthetic changes to the nose.
Rhinoplasty for a deviated septum
During rhinoplasty for a deviated septum, the surgeon uses incisions on the piece of skin between the nostrils in order to access underlying bone and cartilage. By altering the framework of the nose, the surgeon is able to change its shape and alter its function. The skin is then replaced over the nose and supported with splints or surgical tape. Most patients spend about a week recovering before returning to work or school.
Although most forms of plastic surgery are not covered by health insurance, a nose job to treat a deviated septum is one common exception. Many insurance policies do cover rhinoplasty or septoplasty for this purpose, particularly if the deviated septum causes health issues such as problems breathing. If the rhinoplasty is being performed both for a deviated septum and for cosmetic reasons, insurance may only cover a portion of the procedure. Before scheduling rhinoplasty surgery, be sure that you understand the requirements for payment through your insurance.