Why is my nose still blocked after surgery?

Nasal obstruction is a serious condition that affects millions of people. Some of the reasons are due to allergies and membrane-type issues, which in theory could be reversible with the right medicines. Otherwise, bony and cartilaginous deformities in the form of deviation of the septum and swelling of the turbinates (sidewalls of the nose) can give permanent obstruction of the airway. While the treatment for the first category is mostly medical, the treatment for the second category is generally surgical.

Many patients choose to undergo septum surgery to correct the anatomical deformity that predisposes them to obstructive issues. This is a surgical procedure that is usually performed in an operating room setting. Most patients undergo this treatment under general anesthesia. Generally, the deviation of the bone and cartilage of the septum is corrected and the septum is returned to a midline position to facilitate breathing in the future.

Unfortunately, some patients may experience recurrent or persistent nasal obstructive issues despite having a septoplasty surgery. An obvious source for this would be inadequate surgery. However, the intention of this article is to discuss other sources of nasal blockage.

Despite having achieved correctly repositioned septum, many patients experience persistent issues with nasal obstruction. Ongoing issues with nasal allergies, stuffiness, and congestion can definitely lead to persistent sensation of nasal obstruction. It is important to remember to maintain optimal treatment of allergies even though a patient might have had previous surgery.

Some patients also experience gradual worsening of their breathing passages regardless of previous surgery. As time goes on, some of our nasal passages are prone to gravitational forces. This would make our breathing worse as time goes on. Having a septoplasty procedure can shift the patient’s current level of satisfaction from breathing, but it cannot prevent the usual wear and tear of time.

Another phenomenon that can lead to persistent nasal obstruction is a natural tendency of the structures of the nose to lean in a certain way. Despite having surgery and realigning the anatomy in proper orientation, rarely the tissues of the inside of the nose tend to lay in a certain gravitational force. This would lead to future obstruction issues.

In conclusion, it is very important for patients undergoing septoplasty procedure to have realistic expectation of eventual recovery. The best option is to maintain close contact with the surgeon, and also to address their allergy treatments as necessary.

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Posted in: Nose, Sinuses

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