Septoplasty and Rhinoplasty

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated nasal septum, which is a displacement of the bone and cartilage that divides your two nostrils. During septoplasty, your nasal septum is straightened and repositioned in the middle of your nose.

Rhinoplasty, also known as nose surgery, is a surgery that changes the shape of the nose. Rhinoplasty can change the size of the nose to balance the face, the width of the nose at the bridge, the profile of the nose to remove any humps or depressions, and even the tip of the nose. Many individuals seeking rhinoplasty desire a more symmetrical nose, but it is important to keep in mind that everyone’s face is asymmetric to some degree. The results of rhinoplasty may not be completely symmetric, but the goal is to create facial balance and proportion.


Septoplasty & Rhinoplasty candidates include:

  • Change in skin sensation
  • Nasal septal perforation
  • Difficulty breathing


Septoplasty procedures in Tucson and Sierra Vista can be performed independently from rhinoplasty or in conjunction with rhinoplasty surgery. Septoplasty begins with Dr. Moenster separating the septum from the mucosa lining surrounding it. Dr. Moenster can usually realign the septum into the midline using incisions which are all hidden within the nostrils. The mucosa lining is than sutured with dissolvable sutures.

The skin that covers the nasal bones and cartilages is gently raised, once the incisions are made. This allows access to reshape the structure of the nose.

When reshaping the structure of an overly large nose, bone or cartilage may be removed. There are times when the nose may require the addition of cartilage grafts. The most common cartilage used for grafts is the cartilage from the septum. This is the partition in the middle of the nose. Occasionally cartilage from the ear or even a section of rib cartilage can be used. If the septum is deviated, it can be straightened to improve breathing.

Once the structure of the nose is sculpted to the desired shape, the nasal skin and tissue is re-draped and the incisions are closed. Sometimes additional incisions are placed in the natural creases of the nostrils, to alter their size.

Length of Surgery

Nose surgery (rhinoplasty or septoplasty) surgery generally requires 3 to 4 hours or longer to perform.

Recovery, Risks and Results

The risks of septoplasty and rhinoplasty surgery will be discussed between you and your plastic surgeon.

Septoplasty & Rhinoplasty candidates include:

  • Infection
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Nasal septal perforation
  • Difficulty breathing

Recovery following septoplasty for most patients is less difficult than expected. During the immediate post-operative period, patients can anticipate pain, swelling, bruising and congestion associated with difficulty breathing through the nose. Pain medications can be prescribed to assist with pain control.

During your rhinoplasty recovery, a splint and packing will be placed inside your nose and a splint and/or bandages will be placed on the outside of your nose to protect the new structure while it heals. After surgery you will need to rest in bed with your head raised higher than your chest. This will help reduce bleeding and swelling. Your nose will feel congested due to swelling or from the splints that are placed inside your nose during surgery. The internal dressings may remain in place for one to seven days after surgery. If a splint was taped to your nose for additional support and protection, it will be removed around one week after surgery.

Slight bleeding and drainage of mucus and blood are common a few days after surgery or once the dressings are removed. A piece of gauze or drip pad may be placed under your nose to absorb any drainage. This gauze should be changed per your doctor’s instructions. To decrease the chances of bleeding and swelling, you may be asked to avoid strenuous activities such as aerobics and jogging, take warm, not hot showers due to the bandages on your nose and also avoid extreme facial expressions such as smiling or laughing. It is also recommended to avoid blowing your nose and try not to sneeze.

Initial swelling will subside within 4 – 6 weeks, but it can take up to one year for your nose to fully heal and take its new contour. Some temporary swelling or black and blue discoloration of our eyelids can occur for two to three weeks after your nasal surgery. You will be given instructions that will include how to care for the surgical site, medications to take orally and topically to help in the healing process and when you should follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

The results of your septoplasty and rhinoplasty surgery will be long-lasting. Slight changes to the structure of the nose can make a large difference in the look of your nose. If a follow-up surgery is needed, you must wait at least a year.

To learn more about the septoplasty and rhinoplasty procedures, or to schedule your consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Moenster, please fill out the form on this page. You can call our Tucson location at 520-207-3100 or our Sierra Vista location at 520-458-1787. We look forward to seeing you soon!