You've had trouble breathing through your nose for a long time. It often feels like something is blocking one or both of your nostrils, a sensation that persists both day and night. Not only does your nose constantly feel stuffy, but you've found yourself suffering from chronic sinus infections. Snoring and nosebleeds are commonplace in your life. Regardless of how you ended up here, you don't have to live with these symptoms forever. If the cause of your suffering is found to be a deviated septum, a septoplasty might be the solution to your problems.
How Much Does Septoplasty Cost?
A septoplasty is a surgical procedure that is designed to correct a deviated septum. While having some deviation of the septum is rather common, a severe deviation can reduce airflow in one or both of your nostrils. Once the deviation is significantly affecting your quality of life you should look into getting it fixed. A septoplasty will straighten out your septum through trimming, repositioning, and replacing the cartilage or bone that is causing your sinus issues. The majority of patients, over 90% to be precise, who go through with septoplasty experience a significant improvement in their symptoms.
Causes and Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
A deviated septum is caused by one of two things. People can develop one during fetal development which then presents itself at birth. Others develop one due to local trauma. While many people don't experience any side effects, a more severe deviated septum can cause some uncomfortable symptoms.
- Congestion and difficulty breathing through your nose (can be one-sided or both sides)
- Snoring or sleep apnea
- Noisy breathing, especially during sleep
- Recurrent sinus infections
- Chronic sinus headaches
- Facial pain (This is debatable, but if you experience facial pain on the same side as your deviation, the septum may be contributing to the pain)
Medications can be used to ease the discomfort but relying on nasal sprays which have a strict usage schedule, breath-rite strips, and other self-soothing techniques can be incredibly frustrating.
What Can I Use to Manage My Symptoms?
Anti-histamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids can all help with managing symptoms, but they won't completely cure the problem.
- Antihistamines aid with allergy symptoms such as congestion, obstructions, and runny nose.
- Decongestants work to clear the congestion in your nasal passageways. They reduce swelling and keep the airways open. While these medications are available as both a pill and a spray, the spray works quicker. However, consistent use of the pill or sprays can result in dependency and worsening of the congestion commonly. Possible side effects include jitters, high blood pressure, and elevated heart rate.
- Nasal Steroids are corticosteroid sprays that reduce inflammation and help minimize obstruction and drainage. These sprays take several weeks to reach their maximum potential.
If you are tired of managing symptoms, or your septum deviation is severe, you should consider septoplasty. Keep in mind that symptoms can worsen with age so pursue treatment sooner than later.
What Can I Expect During a Septoplasty?
Septoplasty is a straightforward surgery. The complexity of your condition will dictate how long your septoplasty will last. Typically, the operation takes anywhere from half an hour to 90 minutes to complete. Prior to your surgery, you and your surgeon will discuss what anesthesia option is best for you based on your medical history and current condition. On surgery day you will either go under local or general anesthesia.
The surgeon will make a single incision on your nose. After lifting the mucous membrane, they will move the deviated symptom into the proper position and remove any excess bone or cartilage that is obstructing your nasal passages. The last step is repositioning the mucous membrane—the septum's protective covering. Your surgeon may use stitches to help keep everything in place but packing the nose with cotton or using a splint may be enough.
After surgery, you may feel mild pain. Most people only require pain medication for the first 24-72 hours after surgery. There are also several things you should avoid to help with your recovery.
- No drinking or smoking
- Do not blow your nose for at least 5 days
- Avoid going back to work for 3 days
- Avoid crowds - they increase your likelihood of getting sick and being exposed to nasal irritants
- Avoid exercise for 5 days
How Much Does a Septoplasty Cost?
In the majority of cases a septoplasty is covered by most PPO insurances and Medicare as it is causing significant medical issues like chronic nasal obstruction, recurrent sinus infections, sinus headaches, chronic mouth breathing/snoring, recurrent nosebleeds or various other symptoms. In these situations you may only have to pay simply a co-pay or the deductible portion according to your particular insurance type.
If a patient does not have insurance then cash rates can range from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on whether it’s a primary case or a revision procedure and this would include the anesthesia and facility fees as well as the surgeon’s fee. There are also financing options available to help cover the cost of your septoplasty. CareCredit is one popular financing option owned by Synchrony Bank. When using short-term finance options (6 to 24 months) for purchases over $200, no interest will be charged on your total so long as you make the minimum monthly payments and pay the full amount by the promotional period end date. Be careful; if you don't finish paying it off, you will be charged cumulative interest from the original purchase date. CareCredit also offers longer-term financing over two, three, four or five year periods. Unlike the short-term finance options, these have reduced APR and fixed monthly payments.
Will My Insurance Cover a Septoplasty?
Generally speaking, if you can prove that surgery is a medical necessity as discussed above, insurance will cover it. Medical necessity is defined as health care service that is necessary for the evaluation and treatment of a condition, disease, illness or injury. It is up to your physician to prove to your health care provider that a septoplasty is medically necessary to help improve or maintain your quality of life.
Will A Septoplasty Change The Cosmetic Appearance of My Nose?
Absolutely NOT! A septoplasty is an internal surgery in the nose simply to straighten the midline wall between the two sides of the nose. However often it is combined with a rhinoplasty (aka nose-job) if a patient wishes to change the cosmetic appearance. Insurances do not cover cosmetic procedures or changes to the appearance of the nose. In that situation, you would be responsible to pay for the rhinoplasty portion of the procedure and a tailor-made specific price will be given to you by your surgeon for the cosmetic portion only, depending on the complexity and extent of work required.
Now that we've equipped you with the basic knowledge you need to get started and take your breathing into your hands. The first step is seeking a local ENT specialist for a consultation. These specialists will be able to verify if a deviated septum is the cause of your symptoms, prescribe management medications, and let you know how soon you need to pursue treatment.