The nasal septum is the wall of cartilage that separates the two nasal cavities. Occasionally, through congenital defect or injury, the septum can become deviated or displaced. The deviated septum can cause a host of symptoms, including chronic stuffiness, headaches, and snoring, while some people have no symptoms at all. When it gets too bad for the patient to live with, the physician may recommend septoplasty surgery to repair the deviated septum.
Septoplasty surgery corrects the deviated septum issue. The correction may take several different forms depending on the patient. The cartilage may be straightened or the septum may be removed and a stint placed. This procedure is generally considered medically needed and commonly covered by insurance.
Rhinoplasty, on the other hand, is a cosmetic procedure. There are a multitude of reasons that patients desire to have their noses corrected. There may be a 'hump' in the bridge of the nose or a ball at the tip. Other times a patient may feel that their nose is too flat or too narrow. Whatever the reason, rhinoplasty is generally considered to be a cosmetic procedure and usually is not covered by insurance.
Both rhinoplasty and septoplasty surgeries should be performed by qualified physicians. Depending on the patient and the extent of the work to be done, the patient may undergo general or local anesthesia. Patients often choose to take care of both problems at one time and undergo what is known as a septorhinoplasty, wherein both the medical issue of the deviated septum and the cosmetic issue are corrected. This procedure was recently featured on "The Doctors."