Deviated Septum Surgery

The Deviated Septum Experience: Diagnosis, Surgery, Recovery, and FAQ

At the end of February, I noticed I couldn’t breathe properly through my left nostril. I went to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist and learned that, growing up, I’d broken my nose, resulting in a deviated septum. This is when the bone between your nostrils becomes crooked, restricting airflow. Many people have deviated septums but aren’t noticeably affected by them. I was one of the exceptions, with two doctors referring to the damage as severe.

To fix a deviated septum, surgery is required. I had this surgery in early April and, prior to that, had been searching for people’s experiences to get an idea of what to expect. I found some blog posts and YouTube videos, but nothing comprehensive, and that’s why I’m writing this post — to help people with deviated septums get an idea of what to expect from the process.

The post itself should answer most people’s questions but, if you have anything to ask, feel free to leave comments below.


There’s a lot of problems that can come from having a deviated septum but these are the most notable ones:

  • You become tired easily. It’s a source of that constant, sluggish feeling, and it’s especially noticeable when you’re doing anything physical. (My deviated septum now explains why I could sprint quickly but could never even begin to run a long distance.)
  • Your sense of taste and smell are diminished. I haven’t noticed big improvements in taste but smells are more intense than they’ve ever been. This is great for smelling the salty air by the beach. It’s not quite as great when a garbage truck drives by.
  • Your sleep suffers a lot. Without proper airflow, you’ll snore and suffer from sleep apnea, and you’ll wake up feeling groggy all of the time. You spend one third of your life sleeping and, if you don’t wake up refreshed, it’s going to wear you down.

(I’d argue that sleep is only one step down from water in things we need to survive so, if you’re sleeping poorly, that alone is worth the time and effort required of the surgery.)

The blocked nose that results from a deviated septum can also cause mouth breathing, which in itself comes with a range of nasty symptoms, from gingivitis to physically changing the shape of your face, as shown here:

Mouth Breathing Side Effects
These girls are twins. The right is a mouth breather.


Like I said before, deviated septums are common. Half-decent specialists will find them completely unremarkable and easy to diagnose. I saw two specialists and they both identified the problem in the same way:

  1. Seated me in a reclining chair.
  2. Sprayed a local anaesthetic into my nostrils. It ran down the back of my throat and tasted terrible.
  3. Shoved a camera into my nostrils to take a look around.

It’s a mildly uncomfortable process but nothing to be hesitant about. My eyes watered a little and the taste of the spray hung around for a while but there was no outright pain.

5 Things To Know About Pre-Surgery

Compared to most surgeries, there shouldn’t be much stress involved in this one. My friends and family were more worried than I was. There are a few things to keep in mind before heading into surgery though (most of which will be repeated by your doctor anyway):

  1. For two weeks prior, avoid anything that can thin the blood. This includes a range of medication, some non-prescription pain-killers, and garlic. (You’ll also have to avoid these things after surgery.)
  2. You’ll need to take 1–3 weeks off work to recover. You’ll probably feel fine after one week but, if you’re employed, try to get as much time off as possible. The extra rest will help.
  3. Buy a Neti Pot. These are useful for anyone’s health but you’ll be needing it to clear out mucus and dried blood from your nose. They’re gross to use but wondefully satisfying.
  4. Stock up your fridge with stuff to eat. I found softer foods like yoghurt easier to handle. Moving my mouth too much hurt my nose so solid foods were more difficult to manage.
  5. Prepare for boredom. You can’t do a whole lot after surgery so podcasts, movies, and any other passive entertainment will make the time pass a little faster.

Your nose will also feel extremely blocked for the first week after surgery, resulting in some hardcore mouth breathing while you sleep. This will cause a painful sore throat, so any sore throat remedies will be a worthwhile addition to your arsenal. Personally, I’ve found Olive Leaf Oral Spray to be very effective.

10 Things To Know About Post-Surgery

There’s not much to say about the surgery itself. I went to the hospital, put on a gown, lay in a bed, was wheeled into the surgery room, and the anaesthetist put me to sleep in a second. I woke up cold and with foggy thoughts but the nurses put extra blankets on me and I soon came back to my senses.

The interesting thing happen once the surgery’s over, so keep in mind that:

  1. Your throat will be sore. Immediately after the surgery, this is because of the anaesthetic. You will, however, be allowed to take mild pain killers.
  2. You can stay overnight at the hospital. This costs more but I found it comforting to know that nurses were nearby. I didn’t need any of their help in the end though.
  3. Your nose will bleed. Don’t be alarmed. It’s normal. Have an ice pack handy and place it below your nose to stop the blood from flowing. If it keeps bleeding for minutes at a time, call your doctor.
  4. You’ll have foam packing in your nostrils. This will help absorb some blood immediately after the surgery and is usually removed within 12–48 hours. You’ll feel some relief once the packing is out.
  5. You might have plastic splints in your nostrils. These help the septum heal properly. If present, they’ll be removed after one week and, once they’re removed, your breathing will feel incredible straight away.
  6. Your sleep will suck. To solve this, I forced myself to remain awake for as long as possible so I was simply exhausted when it came time to sleep. Keep your head elevated with a couple of pillows while sleeping.
  7. Showering is tricky. You shouldn’t get warm water on your head since that’ll stimulate blood flow (and we don’t want more blood out of our nose). Either have cold showers or just wash your body.
  8. Nasal sprays will provide mild relief. The doctor may provide one of these. It’s not much but a saline, non-medicated spray can make breathing a little easier during the first week.
  9. Neti Pots will provide the most relief. I didn’t feel comfortable using one for the first week but, once my splints were out, using the Neti Pot cleared out a ton of gunk and never fails to improve my breathing.
  10. Headaches are inevitable. I had a few myself and they were terrible. I wish I had comforting words to offer but, for as long as I felt the pain, all I did was fantasise about being fully recovered.
  11. Painkillers are your friend. I was taking the maximum dosage allowed — eight per day — and, while they didn’t clear up all of the pain, they helped keep me sane. Just don’t take ones that thin the blood.

But if all of this sounds scary, fear not. Everyone recovers differently and, based on what I’ve read, plenty of people have had easier recoveries than I did. And, either way, the struggles were well worth it.

Tracking My Sleep Quality with SleepCycle

In the weeks leading up to surgery, I downloaded SleepCycle on my iPhone to track the quality of my sleep. After a week’s worth of tracking, my sleep quality bounced between 50–70% on average (with a peak of just under 80%). Is this data incredibly accurate? I’m not sure but it doesn’t matter because I wasn’t worried about absolute data. I only cared about whether or not the numbers were higher after the surgery.

Here’s the chart for the days I tracked:

SleepCycle Results

So you can see there was a big difference after surgery (and specifically, after getting the splints out). I went from not scoring above 80% to scoring 90% on my first night of post-surgery tracking, then 94% the night after. This meant:

  • I was falling to sleep quicker.
  • I was waking up less frequently.
  • I slept for longer overall.

Also, for the first time in my life, I was able to sleep on my back in perfect comfort. Previously, I could only sleep in very precise positions. I didn’t even “get” how people slept in other ways. (Now I just need to do some research in what’s actually the best way to sleep.)


It’s been a month since surgery and, although it can take months to feel the full effects, I feel capable of answering the most important question:

“Was the surgery worth it?”

And my answer is simply, “Yes.” Absolutely, positively, yes. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent memory and, if your breathing is affected by a deviated septum, I can easily recommend the surgery.

The first week of recovery had a few low-points but, since then, I’m breathing better, sleeping better, and smelling better, and the differences are dramatic. This wasn’t an incremental improvement. This was a big change in a short period of time that will surely have long-lasting effects. I have no regrets.

109 thoughts on “The Deviated Septum Experience: Diagnosis, Surgery, Recovery, and FAQ”

  1. Although I don’t think I have a deviated-septum still interesting to read :)
    Glad that it helped you

    1. Just had a septoplasty and endoscopic bilateral sinus widening.. Came here to see about the completely blocked nose after surgery.. Guess it common, not easy to swallow. Other than that, my pain is minimal (8 hours after surgery) and I’m at home playing video games.. Yew!

  2. I have a sigmoid shaped deviated septum, snore, etc. and turbinates in my right nostril, so one side of my nose is often congested. I’ve been told that I should have the same surgery that you had.

    I was basically warned that it was very painful, especially during recovery, and, as an “optional” surgery, that pretty much put me off doing it was a 42 year old guy. How bad did you really find the recovery to be? How painful was the procedure day of, etc? Was it done under a local or a general? (The former can make it a bit psychologically distressing as you’re awake and listening to them working away!)

    1. Honestly, the pain was never more than uncomfortable for me. I was under a general anaesthetic during surgery itself and, during recovery, the pain killers I was taking meant I just felt like I had a bad flu — blocked nose, headache, etc. Maybe go into the surgery expecting it to be rough but I’m extremely glad I got the surgery and it’s only a week after surgery that’s particularly rough. Once I had the splints removed from my nose, it was just a matter of getting plenty of rest and cleaning out my nose regularly.

    2. Just thought I would put my two pennies worth in – literally had this surgery less than 24 hours ago so can’t comment on much more than that. My nose itself hasn’t been painful. I had a headache and a little sinus type pressure (I have dissovable packing up there rather than removable – I’m in the UK. And I have no splints.) I took painkillers twice after surgery and have woken up this morning and not taken any throughout the night or yet since waking. Though I probably will shortly because I’ve got to clean it soon which may unsettle things and be a bit painful. Mine was done under general. No black eyes or bruising. My nose is a little swollen and is supposed to continue to puff up in the next day or so. I slept awfully just because I’m not used to being propped up. But I imagine I feel ok again in a week or so. The nurses emphasised the importance of avoiding social spaces and people for up to two weeks to reduce risk of infection because that usually results in constant nose bleeds which we obviously don’t want!

      Hope if you’ve had it it went well and if not you do consider it.

      And thanks very much for the original post!

      1. I am also 36 hours post op and wondered if I can clean the crusty blood away from the sides (not centre where the septum is) to try and establish a bit of an airway? My throat is very sore from mouth breathing & almost clogged up to the point of nearly not being able to breathe through my mouth & keep having to cough etc to try & clear my throat! I would like to get through this to feel hone benefits as I know that it’ll be well worth it in the end! Any advice would be gratefully received :-)

    3. I just had that same surgery two days ago (which explains why I’m home and not at school) but the pain makes me want to do this to my nose: (ノಠ ∩ಠ)ノ彡( \o°o)\
      I’m twelve, not 42, so I can’t really say it’s the same, but yeah, it hurts. But you know what? It’s either a little bit of pain now or a lifetime of OH GOD WHY NOSE WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME later. Also– chocolate pudding.

  3. I sure i might have a deviated septum. In my right nostril i have perfect airflow, then on my left barely any at all. My sleep has been pretty horrible in the last 5 years or so. I’ll try to see my doctor soon so i can discuss this with him and she what he thinks.

    1. I had the exact same problem. I had extremely limited air clue through my left nostril. Went to the ENT and not only did I have a severe deviated septum, I had nasal polyps and an extra hole in my turbinate. Pleas for your own sanity get your nose checked by an ENT!

  4. Wow my Mom just had surgery for her deviated septum back in March due to constant headaches and migraines. She seems to be doing much better now-glad you’re feeling better too. ^_^

    1. I got my surgery about two weeks ago. I’ve had sinus pressure for the past 8 months and then had the surgery and still have slight sinus pressure. Once she got the surgery, how long did it take for the headaches to go away?

  5. I wonder if I have this, I remember when I was really young, about three or four, one of our family friend’s son head butted me right on the top of the bridge of my nose, and I’ve also received many balls from different sports hit the exact place (must be a magnet for impact or something haha) which has made my nose sort of crooked, kinda like a Roman nose. My sense of smell has never been great though every once in a while it does temporarily strengthen.

    What I do have though, is a crossbite and my top jaw being smaller than it should, which means I am going through surgery next year or the year after which will break down my entire jaw and reconstruct it… YAY… though if I have to be honest… kinda excited for the surgery hehe

  6. Yeahp I had the same kind of op in 2010. Adenoids taken out too, as well as my turbinates shaved. I remember the bandage started smelling like bacon after they took the gauze out.

  7. Hi! I am having my septum straightened in the next few months and I am freaking out after watching some YouTube videos. I am not having anything with my sinuses or turbinates touched (not sure if you did OR the people on YouTube) but seeing the clogging and getting that out seems painful and terrifying! Basically she is just straightening my septum… I do not have any issues breathing.

    My DOC said I would have splints in after surgery for a week the she was remove them. Shee said I would feel a bit stuffy from those. She did not mention HUGE piles of blood and mucous coming out OR having to clean those afterwards.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Don’t worry– well, only a bit. It’s gonna hurt a bit but you do get painkillers which help a lot. And there’s also the bonus that, because you can only eat goopy liquids and other liquids, you have a perfect excuse for binge-eating chocolate pudding. So that’s good.

  8. THANKS for the info! You are right in that it is hard to find factual experienced REAL info. I’ve suffered from sleep apnea for years…always tired, can’t use a bipap or a cpap. I know the ENT will tell me I need the surgery. If I can get him to agree to keep me overnight and let me leave with pain meds…. I might consider it. (I’m a wus). Thank you so much!

    1. Glad this info was useful, Eve. At the very least, you shouldn’t have trouble with getting enough pain meds. They gave me mild stuff but I was allowed to take eight tablets a day, and that was enough to keep me feeling decent. :)

  9. Feel much better from reading your story I have my op in 2 weeks and struggling to breathe or swallow I loo forward to a normal life!!

  10. I was told today that I will need the surgery to straighten out my deviated septum. Sleep apnea and snore very loudly. I’m so scared and reading some of what you say has, calm me somewhat. But I don’t like pain. I am definitely chicken. Thanks again for the breakdown of the EVENT… lol.

  11. Hi what kind of operation was? Broke ur nose or just cut a some part inside? Im mouth breathing since 8-9 years, i noticed some changes in my face shape, like droopy and i thought of some diseases. But also i thought could ne the not enough oxygen supply in brain due to mouthbr. My nose is not straight and the doc said i need operation.

  12. Reading your comments are both very interesting and Similar. I am 3 weeks post septorhinoplasty and for me it’s been awful. I have probably had the worst time of things. To me my septum still looks deviated. My GP also agreed slightly but have to wait 3
    Months for the swelling to reduce. I still have bruising, numb front teeth. Painfull jaws, painful nose, pins and needles in face, no sense of taste or smell and I still can’t breathe from my
    Right nostril which is the side im sure
    Is still deviated. At thr moment I’m feeling very low, and can’t see the positive side of my surgery as yet.

    1. Hey Lisa. I’m thinking about doing the surgery. Is your breathing any better now that it has been a couple months? Was it worth it? Any negative side effects or feelings? Jonny~

  13. Did you have any other symptoms besides difficulties breathing?

    I have constant nasal congestion which is apparently caused by severly deviated septum according to an ENT doctor I visited recently. My nose gets full very quickly (especially left nostril), it’s difficult to blow my nose, and even if I manage to clear it out, it gets blocked again after a couple of minutes. It doesn’t help that I’m allergic but I take meds for that so it shouldn’t affect me this much.

    I also need to clear my throat and cough often because nasty stuff runs from my nose to the back of my throat. I really need this procedure done.

    1. I have the same horrible congestion and post nasal drip as someone else mentioned. It’s been Constant for the past year or two and I am constantly trying to cough up phlegm. Can I expect that the congestion will go away after sugery?

  14. IM 15 years old and I have a deviated septum. I just went to the doctor and I have a surgery in the next two weeks. I am so scared I didn’t relies what happens during the surgery, until I saw YouTube videos. (a nose had a incision on the side and then a plier type tool twisted and broke pieces of the cartilage. what wasn’t told to me was a chisel and mallet being also used to break away bone) :( :( :;(
    what am I to aspect don’t sugar coat it plz….

    1. During the surgery itself, expect nothing. You’ll be completely asleep. Recovery can be uncomfortable but there’s no need to fear. Just prepare to need a lot of rest afterward. :)

  15. Thanks for the article. I have just did mine (yesterday), and your article comforts me as far the pain and others. I breath with my mouth and i cannot wait to breath normally and feel like everybody.
    Thanks again!!!

  16. I just had my surgery yesterday. I can’t taste or smell. Which I’m concerned about….it’s very uncomfortable but I’m hoping the pain gets better. Sleeping Upright is not comfortable at all. Also being severely congested is not fun either.

  17. I had the operation for my deviated septum a year ago. Just saw my Doctor who performed the procedure because I’ve been having the same problems sleeping that had before the surgery. The problem of having one side of my nostril close off as I lay on side of my face and vice-versa. He looks up my nostrils and tells me that my septum looks great and what I’m experiencing is a blood flow issue and there is nothing he can do about it. I just have to live with it. Are you kidding me!? I’m almost back to where I started! What I’m I supposed to do now!?

    1. Chris, can you explain your sleep issues? I wake up suddenly feeling like I can’t breathe several times a night. It’s been affecting me for three years now. I was just told I have a deviated septum. I’m afraid to go through the surgery if it won’t fix the problem.

  18. Thanks for your article. I am having surgery on 11/24 and a little scared but, hoping it will be worth it. My blockage is almost 100%. Tired of sinus infections all the time.

  19. Extremely helpful. I had severely deviated septum. Stayed overnight in hospital. And was good to go the next day. But Surgeon should have prepared me better as to post op situation. It’s day 6 now. All went well with op but I’m not going to be up and running for at least another week or so. I thought after 2 days it would be work as usual.

  20. Had septoplasty done 5 days ago. The worst part was the jaw & neck pain & headache from the anesthesia during surgery. The nose area hasn’t been painful – just a LOT of pressure which was mostly relieved when they removed the splints 3 days after surgery. The major deviation was left side – that is wonderful at this point. Also corrected a problem near the tip of my nose with bent cartilage on the right side – that still has a few stitches that will dissolve in time. Pain meds for first 3 days really helped. Sense of smell & taste are starting to return. Assistant said that inflammation is affecting that. Taking anti-inflammatories & trying to keep nose cavities clean. Tissues hurt – using gauze instead – followed by bacitracin (not neosporin, as some are allergic). Will be getting a Netti Pot as David suggests – want to be as gentle as possible with those stitches. There have been a few moments of absolute heaven – I didn’t know breathing was supposed to be this easy. I have a feeling this is going to be wonderful very soon. Faith.

  21. I had this surgery about 3 1/2 years ago as I had been suffering sinus infections for years, causing me to be on antibiotics often. I was scared of the surgery and put it off. Then once I finally scheduled it I read some posts that scared me so much I almost jumped off the operating room table when they were getting to put me out as I changed my mind. Luckily, a very nice nurse calmed me and I had the surgery. It was a little more painful than I thought but the pain meds helped. I was worried about not being able to breathe but not as bad as I thought. I am SO happy I had this surgery. I did not realize how bad I felt all the time and how it not only affected my quality of life but my family as well as the kids were used to me feeling crappy and not available for things. I have not had a sinus infection since the surgery and have such a better life now. I highly recommend this surgery!!

  22. 2 weeks since my surgery (deviated septum, sinus scar tissue, polyps). Recovery was painless, used a netti pot and the right side unloaded tons of gunk. The left side still seems to be holding onto some stuff so waiting for that to drop. Still find myself getting tired easily but nothing like the first 5 days. My only problem is at night when I go to bed, if I lay on my side at all, I experience congestion and almost an allergic reaction (itchy throat and runny nose). Swapped out pillow and changed sheets several times over the 2 weeks but it still bothers me. anyone else have issues with sleeping on their side or something similar?

  23. I have a deviated septum and it really affects my confidence when it comes to people looking at my side because it has created a bump at my bridge area. However, as someone who cares a lot about how I look, I wanted to know if the surgery drastically changes the look of your nose?

    1. No. Deviated septum surgery (a “septoplasty”) is not a cosmetic surgery. To change the look of you nose, look into getting a “rhinoplasty”. (You can get both surgeries at once if you have breathing trouble though.)

  24. Hey,

    Thanks for the article. I just had the same surgery, as well as the sinus one, done yesterday. Your notes are very spot on. I’m nervous though about a couple things. I didn’t realize that the recovery would take so long and would be as painful as it is (definitely very similar to Flu-like symptoms). I have finals this week and I’m very nervous. What do you think I should do? Should I try contacting my teachers and see if I can change anything? I’m just not sure at this point and I’m getting more and more worried. I thought that since it was just my nose that it wouldn’t be so bad and that I would feel back to normal pretty quickly, though I know now that’s wrong.

    Also, what are the chances of the splints in your nose to accidentally move? My left one feels weird and I’m nervous something may have happened while I was resting. Yet, it could also just be normal pain. This is my first surgery so everything is very new to me. How can you tell if something is wrong with the splints? Are they easy to mess up? Should I call my doctor?

    You have no idea how much this has helped me!
    -Annie Dahlin

  25. Great info! I had my ‘significantly’ deviated septum fixed 12 days ago. Things are going well and it’s great to hear they will be better than ever eventually!

  26. Thanks for this info. Just had septoplasty done 2 days ago and I concur with the whole sleep thing.. I wake up every few hours because breathing out of my mouth 100% and having to use 3+ pillows is abnormal for me. The part that helped me was the whole shower thing. I was worried about having a shower and my doc is gone for the holidays so I cant even phone his office for advice. I think he talked to me after the surgery but I was still coming out of the anesthetic it feels like a dream.

    Totally looking forward to breathing out of the left side of my nose and my crooked nose seems to only be crooked at the middle now and straightens back out at the end. Might just be the swelling but none the less I did this for breathing, not for fashion.

  27. Great information, helps my nerves abit as im getting this done in less then a month, i am a mouth breather and have a deviated septum, enlarged turbunates, an air pocket in my upper turbunate, hole in septum(not a druggo) i am getting septoplasty and rhinoplasty at the same time do you know if there will be much difference in recovery

  28. david…
    I’m having same problem in my both sides of the nose should I proceed for surgery of both sides at once what do you think ?or it’ll hurt alot so I should do it one by one

  29. I had a septoplasty and turbinate reduction performed 8 days ago, because of inability to sleep in other than one position, obstructive sleep apnea (and getting stuffy every night at about 2 AM), oxygen deprivation; and restricted ability to breathe only through nose–with any exertion. Had splints removed today. Experience very similar to others: could not breathe well through splints, ibuprofen was sufficient for limited post-op pain and discomfort; dry mouth soothing products only alleviated mouth-breathing sleeping sore throat for brief periods; while splints were in. Splint removal was painless, with a little “pulling” as one stitch was cut in each nostril. Doctor vacuumed nostrils, advised continued saline use, and gentle blowing, for a few weeks. Easier breathing was immediate–and exhilarating! Realized that most of swelling and nasal discomfort was due to recovery and splints. Swelling and discomfort mostly gone. Nose is a little runny, but mostly clear. Definitely glad that I had it done. Memories of a few days of minor suffering will fade, after years of restricted breathing–and enjoying new “breath of fresh air!”

  30. I am having septoplasty tomorrow. Your article provided lots of good information for me. I am not so much concerned about the pain, but I tend to be somewhat claustrophobic, so I am more worried about feeling a bit panicked by having my nose completely stopped up. I think I can deal with the other issues without too many problems. I just don’t want to have a full-blown panic attack when I wake up from anesthesia.

    1. Murphey, I have a severe, almost 100% deviation blocking the left side. The past few years it seems to have gotten worse and I know it is time to get it fixed so that I can breathe. I, like you have the panic attack on my mind. I can withstand any pain, just worried about the breathing through the mouth for a day or two. I am having mine done in February. I am trying to convince myself that it will be like having a severe cold or flu which lasts that long or more and completely blocks off the nose. I am a smoker, so I obtained a rescue inhaler so that my lungs are completely open and hopefully that will ease the panic and tight chest. Best of luck.

      1. I am two days out from having the septoplasty and turbinate reduction, and I survived. The anxiety that I had over feeling claustrophobic and having a panic attack was actually nothing to worry about. The pain is a bit more than I anticipated, but I know it will ease up soon. Unfortunately, I ended up with mouth ulcers, and that’s not at all comfortable. The splints and packing will come out in 4 more days, and that will help. This has just slowed me down a little more than I expected. Good luck with your surgery. My right side was almost completely blocked, so I can sympathize. I have no doubt it will be worth it in the end.

        1. Congrats Murphey. It is great to hear that the anxiety factor was not an issue. I appreciate you posting back here. I wish you all the best in your recovery. I will certainly be worth it for you.

  31. I am 56 yrs old 2 weeks Post Op from Septoplasty, Tonsillectomy, & Ear Tubes. I CAN BREATHE!!! I won’t sugar-coat this…..ruff, ruff, ruff, BUT I don’t think I suffered one bit from the Septoplasty and this is my second Surgery for Tubes in past 6 weeks. I blame ALL of my pain on the Tonsillectomy. I am STILL in severe pain that my Pain Med is just now beginning to work.
    I broke my nose 40 years ago causing my “interesting” deviated septum (as my ENT called it. My septum was not only deviated but split at the end. I had been a mouth-breather with Sleep Apnea ever since. I could NOT tolerate a CPAP so am hoping this will also improve that. Gotta be honest, haven’t slep more than 2 hours in a row since Surgery, so I don’t know if that is improved yet. I have had a large mass and tissue removed from my blocked nostril also (with 1st Ear Tubes procedure). Let me stress again…I CAN BREATHE! After sufferring from Insomnea also, I can’t wait to see if this helped for that also!
    If I can handle this MAJOR Surgery at my age…you can too!!!
    So far, I would do it again (10 x over) just for the relief I am experiencing!!!!
    PS: Packing Removal is a BITCH!!!

    1. Ouch!!! I feel for you with the tonsils being removed, AT ALL, much less in conjunction with another surgery.. I had my tonsils removed back in 06 and I was 32.. Thought I was going to DIE it hurt so bad

  32. I had a septoplasty and turbinoplasty two days ago. Lots of bleeding afterwards. Thank you for this forum it’s so helpful. It’s not a pleasant post op feeling. My nose is running all the time and I feel smothered. I’m just focusing on next week having the splints out. Good luck to all of you.

  33. I just had these procedures done on the 8th of January :Bilateral endoscopic sphenoid sinusotomy, bilateral nasal endoscopy with ethmoldectomy, bilateral endoscopy with maxillary tissue removal, septoplasty, and bilateral turbinoplasty with radiofrequency. I will say the day of surgery and the day after were pretty good (nose wise). I changed my nose pads every 10-20 minutes (expect some bleeding) the worst though was the sore throat from the tube. Keep Popsicles stocked in the freezer. My only complaint now is how dry my nostrils are, and I have a chunk of dried blood stuck to a splint… keep your nose as moist as possible–use the Afrin and simply saline as doctor notes. Dry mouth is inevitable, and the pain meds will more thank likely stop production of Wonka bars (if you get the drift). Try taking colace or eating apple with the skins in hopes things “come out ok.” Sleep has been difficult, I haven’t been taking pain meds as often as prescribed. Just don’t like the loopy feeling. If you get splints, your 2nd or 3rd day of recovery will have you feeling some front tooth pain and pressure. Splint removal for me is Monday. Do yourself a favor… don’t YouTube your procedure(s) prior to operation. I did this for splint removal. Shouldn’t have. All this being said… I have 0 packing, 0 bruising, and for the most part, I think this was a great thing that needed done. I had been treated for an amoebial infection in my sinus cavities since August. Sorry my post jumps all over the place, but just trying to give as much info as I can. Basically , if you need this done and you have the means… I highly recommend it.

  34. Congratulations to all that have had the procedure done and are reaping the benefits. I need to have the septoplasty surgery but I have a lot of fears. I absolutely require a cpap to sleep (my airway collapses immediately when I fall asleep without cpap) ENT said I can’t use cpap after the septoplasty for up to 2 weeks. I told him I won’t be able to sleep then for 2 weeks and he said he didn’t have an answer for me.
    Does anybody have any idea how I can get through this procedure? I feel like my body will break down with 2 weeks of no sleep. Thank you for any help anyone can offer me.

    1. John: I, too, use a CPAP (full face mask); and was told by my doctor that I could use it, starting the day of the operation. I waited one night because of residual bleeding. I found that I could not keep my nostrils sufficiently clear, with the splints in, using saline spray, to breath through my nose. Using the CPAP’s humidifier helped, but my mouth and throat became dry, waking me up about every two hours. Over-the-counter dry mouth relief products (spray and gel) did provide some relief. After the splints came out (8 days) my CPAP use was fully back to normal. I recommend that you contact your Sleep Clinic, advise them of your pending septoplasty, and see if they can provide a mask that will facilitate mouth breathing during your recovery. The operation is definitely worth it. Good luck!

  35. Thnx for sharing after septoplasty experience, ,, I m 32 yrs guy from delhi,,, I m extremely mouth breather during sleep. bcoz of that I wakeup between sleep and drink water,, without water bottel near me. I can’t sleep. and I suffering thise problem last 5 years ago,,,, recently I had chronic sinus problem, so my family doctor prescribe me to vist ENT specialist, ,ENT doctor see my nose thro small stick camera and told me that .I m suffering Devited nasal septum,,, doctor ask me did I fight someone before? or is something blow on your nose?,,, so I told him no,,, bocoz I didn’t remember,but when think deeply then I realize that,, I have some clash with my friend and we both fight to eachother and he slap on my face, well,, then doctor prescribe me some medecine and told me I need.. septoplasty for finesh my mouth breathing problem, after read thise blog ,,I m confident for surgery :),,,, mightbe in thise week or more early I do thise job for sure,, then after I will write my review again…is theresome one who want to share with me any suggestions regarding to septoplasty. so plzz write me on my email,,,,,,

  36. Do not be terrified. I am 2 days post surgery people scared me but I can believe how easy it has been. Slight bleeding first 2 days you feel blocked up like a mild cold but no pain at all. No pain killers taken. So much easier than I expected!!!

    1. I would agree with you on this. I just had the surgery done two weeks ago. There was some pain but not unbearable. Bleeding stopped after a few days.

      I think what everyone needs to be aware of is that every person is different and everyone’s deviated septum is different. Some people may have a high pain tolerance and for some, their septum may heal faster. It just depends. I’m two weeks post surgery and I’ve had some headaches but I’m prone to those. I stopped taking the pain killers after probably 4-5 days and I didn’t need them after that. My energy came back after about day 6 or 7. I still can’t fully breathe at two weeks as gunk is still coming out but I can tell my nose is still swollen. It’s getting there! At times, I can notice that I can breathe wonderfully out of the right nostril which was the problem side. I’m looking forward to a full recovery! I was anxious like many of you but please don’t be scared. I would recommend this surgery to anyone. Bring a person or two for support at the hospital and to drive you back home but once they prepare you for the surgery, you’re knocked out and don’t remember a thing! Make sure to do as the doctor says: ice the nose, take the pain pills and antibiotics and REST. Doing those things will get your body back faster. Also I do want to note that I didn’t have foam packing in my nose so I’m guessing it just depends on your nose and the doctor, etc. I was surprised at how easy it all was. Good luck to everyone!!!

    2. Marie what all did you have done? I just scheduled surgery for the 25th, I am terrified!! I have to have a lot done! Drain holes made, everything drained. Dr. believes I have a fungal sinus infection.. Been stuck for 2 years, according to the CT scans.. It’s got no where to go. I want to cry I’m so scared! Any advice I’d appreciate!!

  37. After suffering with sinus infections for 2 years and no treatments helped.I had some bone chiselled out of my nose. With only a spray into my mouth and nose, for pain, it was done in the lecture hall of the university of Leipzig Germany. Because it was very seldom done they wanted the med. students to be able to watch it. My nose was packed with face and since the blood had dried when it was removed it was very painful.-But it helped and I had no more problems for years. And when I did have I was already in Canada and the clinic suctioned it out.

  38. Ive really enjoyed reading your experience..i had a septoplasty & limited FESS on Weds 21/1/15, and what you have said is so true! Altho my nose feels sore & blocked with crust & whatever else is up there, i woke up sat morning breathing through my nose! My right side was almost closed by all accts & i can now breath! I must admit i feel like ive been hit in the face with a shovel & i have had & if i’m being honest, still am, in a lot of discomfort (& i have a high pain threshold) but i dont care because i know its going to be worth it in the end. I never gave it a thought till i read what you said about being lethargic & tired all the time.i have felt like this for yrs & i was beginning to think there was something seriously wrong with me.. even to the point where i was feeling very depressed.i had no interest in anything..and now i’m wondering if my breathing could have been part of this problem ( i also suffer with Asthma and have become ‘scared’ these past few yrs since being diagnosed with Asthma.i’m taking my recovery a day at a time & slowy! Hopefully this will be very beneficial to me in the future. If anyone is in doubt.. dont will benefit you..just be patient with your recovery time.

  39. I just had my tonsils out and deviated septum fixed 5 days ago. I got my splints out today and wow I can breath great! My main concern is my sense of smell and taste. I can’t taste or smell anything. Is this normal? How long should it take to be able to taste again? thanks in advance!

  40. I having the septoplasty done in two months and I am scared shitless to get it done. I am scared of the general anaesthetic that the ear, nose and throat specialist will give me due to severe sensitivity to medications. I have sleep apnea due to the crooked septum in my left nostril. I have always breathed through my mouth. My common-law is the one who told me to go to a doctor and I did. I was then referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. So I am so full of anxiety and sleepless nights due to worrying about this darn surgery.

  41. Ohh, I have also septoplasty done in 2 weeks .two days for me was terrible bocz of nose packing,, but after remove package I breath Clearly by my left nose which was always blocked,,, doctor say me I got full benifits of septoplasty after 1 month,,, lets see after one month

  42. It is day 12 of post surgery for me. i do daily cleaning twice a day (Steam sinus bath, nasal rinse, nasacort and nasogel). My deviated septum is on my left and most work was done on that side. I have mucus with blood coming out in the last 3 days.
    What happened this morning frightened me. I woke With too much air going
    through left nostril. I did my usual sinus cleaning, ate breakfast And as about to get on my day. I suddenly began hyperventilating. Just too much air was going into my left nostril. I couldn’t control my breathing. Called the clinic, nurse told me to breathe into a bag until i was calm. Can anyone tell if they had a similar incident before? I was not stressed the night before or when i woke up.

  43. I have a deviated septum it doesn’t particularly affect my breathing although I have had quite bad sinus problems in the past and my sense of smell isn’t great, but my main problem is the appearance of it, it knocks my confidence and I seriously hate my appearance because of it, could I still get surgery although it doesn’t affect my breathing ect. ?

  44. I was diagnosed with a Deviated septum at the age of 9. My left Nostril was completely blocked due to deviated septum.I always had a breathing problem with sleep apnea.Like others I was breathing mostly from mouth.
    I just had the surgery done two weeks ago 18th Jan. doctors removed a small amount of bone and cartilage.( I can share the Pic)
    The Nose was packed for a day with Splint remained there for another week.
    So far My sleep apnea has gone. I can breath like any normal person.
    Apart from some Bloody mucus which is still coming No major issues at all.

  45. Had septoplasty surgery with turbinate reduction on Monday 2\16\15. Day of surgery went into surgery at 10:30. 2 &1\2 hours with room prep and surgery. Slept 30 minutes and recovery 45 minutes. Got home and figured mouth breathing would be an issue and panic might set in. Not the case. It actually felt good to not breath through my 95% blocked left nostril. Mouth breathing was fine. Pain was minimal and pain meds took care of this. Biggest issue was no sleep. Changed nose guaze hourly and iced religiously (20 on, 20 off).
    Day 2 took packing out at 9:00 am. No problem at all. Squirting Saline in both sides often and Afrin twice today a day. Little to no pain and right side sort of clearing a bit. Nose dressing change 6-8 hours and probably will not need tomorrow. Still no sleep but will try soon. Still icing every hour or two. Will update tomorrow or next day. So far not so bad, way better than expected. Eating normally.

    1. Day 2 Evening- For the record, I forgot to mention I am a 48 year old male and a smoker. Used saline spray and Afrin. Right nostril cleared about 85% and left about 10%. Stopped pain killers and finally slept 3 hours straight, an hour up icing, then 4 more hours of sleep.

      Day 3- Swelling and congestion more evident but still icing and saline spraying. About 50% open on right side and still 10% on left. For the most part the Bleeding stopped and gauze moustache not needed. Occasional bleed, but drying inside more evident and crusting beginning. Update again tomorrow.

      1. Evening 3 slept 2 hours, ice the 5 more hours. Woke up Day 4 with a severe headache from congestion. Ice, saline and Afrin and headache cleared. Still some swelling and congestion. Saline often. Finally did a saline rinse and 70% clear both sides. Plastic splints still in until Day 8. Feeling much better and somewhat normal.

        1. Day 5, 6 & 7 so far the same. Wake up with severe congestion and headache and then it clears after flush and can breathe somewhat. Splits will come out tomorrow on Day 8. Will update then.

          1. Day 8- Splints removed, not painful at all. Suction done, again not painful, just a little uncomfortable for all of about 1 minute.

            All I have to say is EUREKA!!!!!!! I can breath!!!!! Still a lot of swelling, but who cares, that will subside. I CAN BREATH. Good Luck to everyone here and thank you for this board. It helped me prior to doing the surgery. I hope my comments can help others. Do this surgery if you have a severely deviated septum, it’s not that bad.

  46. thanks for your thoughts. had a specialist tell me she’d fix mine. being difficult to breathe already gives me chills and bad thoughts having cotton and garbage up my nose post surgery. My fears were substantiated.

  47. I have my surgery in 5 days..I am 44 yr old woman. I can’t lie, I am pretty nervous. I am not worried about the surgery But the recovery, I am a wuss when it comes to pain, and very worried about the packing/ splints.
    This site has calmed my nerves quite a bit, can anyone tell me how long it took to get back to work? I do inventory control, so lots of moving around, lifting, etc. I took 2 weeks of leave but am hoping I won’t have to use it all.
    An actual vacation would be nice this year!

    1. Today is day 7 for me and back at work. You definitely need a full week to recover properly. Sleep is difficult and congestion is a bit miserable.

    2. Thanks for the comments, surgery is tomorrow. Of course we are in the middle of an ice storm in Texas! And my 19 yr old daughter is driving me, I think maybe the surgery is the least of my worries…..maybe I will take a cab to the hospital?? Wish me luck and I’ll let y’all know if I survive the surgery AND my daughters driving!

  48. Had surgery done in uk just 2 days ago, not given much info, so have found this very useful, told dissolvable packing, very little else, time off work, how long to rinse for, found it all lacking really. Unfortunatley work for myself so need to get back soon, hopefully with 4 days off might be alright, will just have to see and take it carefully.

  49. Thanks for the post. Your experience reflects what I am currently going through (1 week post-op), so it was comforting to read.

  50. Great post. Congrats David.
    In the surgery day, how long had you stay in the hospital? Do you think it is easy to drive in the same day of surgery?


  51. day 3 since the surgery, and I feel so much better. Packing taken out yesterday, and it wasn’t to bad. I notice if I’m up too long the bleeding gets worse and I run down easy but other than that I’m doing great. Planning on going back to work next week. Even with all the gunk in my nose I can’t believe how much better I can breathe. If you are contemplating this surgery my advice is DO IT!! I a so grateful I did.

    1. Nan, Glad to hear. 2 weeks later and I am doing well. Still some congestion and gunk, but way better than the agony of everyday life with a clogged nose. A follow up with Dr. tomorrow. I assume more vacuuming!!!

      1. Day 15- two week follow up. Dr. vacuumed out a bunch of “stuff”. Still a lot of swelling but definitely getting better across the board. Next visit is two weeks out and I hope to be completely done at that time. If you are considering doing this, Do the surgery, I’m breathing like a champ today!!! I never imagined breathing could be so free and easy.

        1. Had 4 week follow up. Doctor vacuumed out more “stuff”, believe it or not 4 weeks later. 90% clear and feeling great. A great decision to take care of this life long breathing problem.

  52. I was assaulted in 2005 and suffered a broken nose which resulted in me having Rhinoplasty in 2007. Although it went very well my scar tissue has been causing my nose to swell and scab over, after countless trips to the doctors and being fobbed off I was finally sent to see the surgeon who ‘fixed’ my nose (nov 2014) who then told me I have a deviated septum and I have the surgery to fix it this Friday.. After spending most of my time sleeping and wondering where the days have gone I am quite looking forward to it… I found your post very informative and am taking notes, thankyou.

  53. Just had Septoplasty, Turbinate Reduction and a Vocal Cord Polyp removed yesterday. The surgery itself took longer than expected, I was told I bled a lot. The first 10 hours were uncomfortable, although not as painful as I thought it would be. My throat hurt the most. My nose felt like a bad sinus headache and mostly had an awful headache. I could breathe well for the first 4 to 5 hours after surgery then swelling started so I haven’t been able to breathe through my nose since. I was given antibiotics, pain medicine and antacid. I cleaned my nose with saline solution 6 hours after surgery and every 3 hours since. I had the gauze under my nose for the first 16 hours but the bleeding stopped so I don’t need it anymore. I’m not supposed to speak for 72 hours, because ofmy vocal cord surgery. I visited my doctor today and he says it looks great. I will see him in a week to have my splints removed. He said after that I should breathe a lot better.

  54. Hey, thanks a lot for your helpful post. I had absolutely same case as yours but i had this problem since quite long time ago(maybe since childhood). I went to the doctor and he told me to get a surgery. And I am going to get it in one and half months! Is it possible now that I can breathe from both nostrills? Please answer it!!

    1. yes it should help u breathe thru both nostrils….mine did and i had mine since a child…make sure you have a good surgeon

  55. I was petrified and did wayyyyy too much “googling” and almost cancelled the surgery after seeing all the horror stories.

    I had 0% breathing on right side and about 60% on left prior to surgery. I had my septoplasty and turbinate reduction last Monday. When I woke up from surgery, I could breathe already at almost 100%, it was amazing! I made sure to use lots of saline ( every hour) washes and saline gel, humidifier and never got clogged up or congested….that is the key! I bled for 24 hours but then it stopped. Very little pain. Splints out at 3:00 today. Well worth it! I can breathe!

  56. Had septoplasty 6 days ago. I’ve had no major pain, just some discomfort (except when I’ve accidentally banged my nose at night).
    I haven’t had much sleep at all, unfortunately, so I’m feeling exhausted, and coupled with severe congestion that just started yesterday (cant breathe through my nose at all), I’m getting a little rundown. Dr said this is normal, just use the saline spray as needed, though it really doesn’t help with the clogging.
    Stents/packing come out the day after tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to getting back to breathing. I could breathe pretty well the first couple days following surgery, so I’m sure once the stents/packing are removed and swelling subsides, I’ll be happy with the results.
    If you’re nervous about the procedure, don’t be. I heard horror stories from my friends that had it done. But I gotta say it really hasn’t been that bad.

  57. Hi David and other readers,

    I am going for surgery next week Tuesday. I will be going for a deviated septum, tonsillectomy and removal of adenoids. I will admit I am quite nervous as I really want to be healthy now after being on at least 8 antibiotics in the last year with chronic throat infection, sleep apnea, low energy levels as well as dry mouth.

    I am only concerned as some people on here who have had the surgery are complaining that there symptoms have not improved and some are having blood flow pressure problems etc.

    I will post an update after the surgery. I expect it will be sore. I am still recovering from a operation from last year which involved going for a Bi-lateral hernia operation, varicose veins removal from the hernia and scrotum, a scrotum reduction and a chordee repair from last October.

  58. 8 days past surgery, I can tell you that it wasn’t really to much fun, and hoping that it works, first 6 days were bleeding, pain, and not breathing through nose…didn’t like the plugged nose at all….after the stints were taken out, got better…my question is, I have scabs forming, or maybe dried blood inside my nose, I want it out, but am afraid to try and cause the stiches to come out…does anyone have any experience with this, and what helped you?

    1. Just flush with Saline. The scabbing will come out on its own. It is a process, but week two gets better. I am 4 weeks post op and have 90% breathing. Still Saline Flush 3 times a day. Still very minor swelling, but all in all, it gets way better once the doctor starts vacuuming out some of the remnants. Four weeks later and some big nasty stuff still came out. Hang in there. It gets way better.

  59. -yesterday (monday) i had septo only. 1 hour surgery. 1 hour recovery.
    -got nausea patch and nausea meds so fine there.
    -hate narcotics so been taking extra strength tylenol every 5-6 hours and have very little pain. inside nose feels the equivalent of a scraped knee. bad sinus headache is the worst in the pain department, but not debilitating.
    -didn’t need mustache bandage after about 10 hours, but do dab at drips every so often.
    -using saline spray every 2 hours to keep crusting at minimum and, per doc orders, afrin spray very 4 hours to help with bleeding.
    -can breath fine through nose so far, waiting to see if more swelling/congestion sets in.
    -slept between 10 minutes and 2 hours at a time last night which is better than i expected (and since i typically wake up every hour or two i was kind of use to it)
    -wish i could blow my nose.
    -splints out on friday (5 days post)
    -i am a 53 y/o female competitive athlete. i went into this in super high health so maybe that is why i am not having much difficulty.

  60. 48 hours post-op.

    here is the low-lights from yesterday:
    -felt like i had a horrible head cold even though i could breath through my nose.
    -swelling has started. my petite nose has morphed into a bulbous one
    -the palate behind my front teeth felt like i had eaten something too hot. very tender
    -constant runny nose that i cant blow. oh, and the watery eyes.
    -super tired

    -still no narcs. only tylenol.
    -slept about the same as first night.
    -my husband wants to wait on me hand and foot.

    Felt up to running a few errands. was out of the house a couple hours. in hindsight that may have been to ambitious since i felt so exhausted later in the day.

    i’ll post tomorrow how today (day 3 post op) goes.

    1. You had it on the same day as me apparently. You might want to try chocolate pudding! It tastes good and is really quite easy to swallow. That and mac ‘n’ cheese. I actually fell asleep into my macaroni yesterday…

  61. I’m scheduled to have the operation in 2 weeks, and the nurse said saline at least 4 times a day, 7 or 8 times is better. I asked her, and you can’t really overdo saline.

  62. Day 3:
    the worst yet. it was like the most wicked head cold in history. i even thought perhaps i had a head cold on top of it all. the constant dropping was like a faucet. i would put little wadded up pieces of tissue up my nostril. i wound up sleeping a good part of the day and that was the highlight. food had no appeal/taste. went to bed at 8.

    day 4:
    slept much better. woke up feeling human. had high energy all day, but still took a morning and afternoon nap as preemptive strike to fatigue. when the headaches came, they were very slight. irrigating with saline every 4 hours followed by afrin. bleeding had stopped, but started up again on right side. just a little, needing to dab at it every so often. felt so good that i wasn’t watching the clock for the time to take my tylenol. took it a half hour late.

    day 5
    slept 5 hours straight!!, which i usually never do (hot flashes/bathroom trips). took my tylenol and tossed and turned for an hour waiting for my nose to open up (i cannot sleep breathing through my mouth). another 2 hours and up for the day now. no more bleeding/dripping this morning. feeling great because TODAY I GET THESE EFFING SPLINTS OUT!! 9am cant come soon enough! i really feel like yesterday i turned the corner on my healing and today can only be better. will report tomorrow how the whole splint thing goes.

  63. just had splints out. OMG! OMG! OMG!..i had no idea! they were huge! like the size of my pinky finger but completely flat. it was over so fast it doesn’t even warrant any mention of how uncomfortable it is. between the decongestant the squirt in there, the splints being removed and the suction of any gunk i feel like 98% normal. he said there may be a little bleeding today from the removal, but so far (its been an hour) its very very little. he said i can blow very gently. i can exercise as much and as intense as i wish. the swelling should be gone in a few days. my sense of smell/taste is mostly back and should be 100% after another couple days. i wont see him again for 6 weeks.

    so other than the 3rd day, this has been way easier than what most people have reported. again..i did this with no pain meds. the superbeast head cold thing was the worst of it. i kept telling myself it was a cold and it made it a bit easier. the fact that i had septo only surely makes a difference. if the turbinates had been done i’m sure that my story would have been different.

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