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shrubbery's avatar

Has anyone here ever had a septoplasty and/or turbinate reduction operation?

Asked by shrubbery (9835 points ) November 11th, 2009

When I was little, I had a lot of trouble breathing in my sleep. Once I almost stopped breathing altogether. I had my tonsils removed when I was 5, the doctor saying they were the biggest he’d ever seen. I would have had my adenoids removed as well but at the time they thought this would leave too big of a gap and it would give me a very nasal voice among other things.

So up until now, 13 years later, I’ve had almost a constant runny nose but just learned to live with it. Mum every once in a while mumbling something about chronic sinusitis. In the last couple of years I’ve been having trouble sleeping, and I’m an awful snorer, so we started talking about sleep apnea. My mum, a nurse, had also seen a teenager who they thought just had chronic sinusitis but actually had an infection behind his nose that spread into his brain and now has to be fed through a tube. That was when we decided to go see a specialist.

So luckily it’s not an infection, but my septum is majorly deviated to one side, and my turbinates are inflamed. The specialist also explained that they must not have taken my adenoids out with my tonsils because the shape of the roof of my mouth is the opposite to most peoples, there is supposed to be a small ridge in the middle that sticks out, but I have a concave ridge instead, so this would have made the big gap.

So anyway, after this ramble, I’ve been booked in for a septoplasty operation, and I’m having my turbinates trimmed, and also my adenoids shaved just a little bit. I was excited at first, because I will finally get to sleep properly and I will no longer have a runny nose.

However, now that it’s getting closer (2 weeks or so), I’m getting scared. It sounds painful, and wikipedia says I will have to have splints in my nose for 7–10 days after the operation, though the specialist didn’t mention this. I have to have gauze changed every hour from the bleeding, then have saline irrigations and am not allowed to blow my nose or anything. There is a possibility of sneezing the stitches out (that’s what the specialist did say).

I’m also just scared of the operation in general- what if they don’t give me enough anesthetic and I wake up? How much would it hurt if I did?

Also, what are the chances of the operation leading to empty nose syndrome? What if they shave too much of my adenoids?

So basically I’m just wondering if anyone has had this operation and could give me some advice or comfort, or if anyone else knows the answers to these questions or just in general about operations and how likely it is for me to wake up and anything like that.

I’m scared!

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11 Answers

autumn43's avatar

Well, it’s normal to be apprehensive about something like this, shrubbery! So, you asked some good questions, and I hope people here will tell you that even though it’s not a walk in the park, it was worth it.

My husband had to have the surgery done that you described. He has never regretted it. Yes, it was painful for a week or so. But he can breathe so much better and smell so much better, as well.

Sometimes the internet can be a great thing – but sometimes it serves to make people worry too much from what they read. I suggest you only ask your doctor about the specifics. Some people have to have a splint, and others don’t. My husband didn’t have one. I have never heard of the empty nose syndrome, and I type these reports for doctors (14 years) – so talk with your doctor about what you’ve read.

I can’t really speak to the specific percentages of people who wake up during surgery, but you will be attended by an Anesthesia specialist – either doctor or nurse, and the chances of that happening are highly unlikely!

Sure, as with any operation, there is going to be pain. But the doctor will know how to manage your specific situation and before you know it, this will all be in the rearview mirror for you!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I haven’t had it, but the young woman who sat in the cube next to mine had it done. It was painful for a few days afterwards, and her face was a bit swollen, but each day you feel better by halves (second day hurts half as much as the first day, third day hurts half as much as the second day, etc.), until it all goes away. They give you pain medication to take at home, and you can pretty much sleep away the first few days.

My daughter had her tonsils out when she was 18, which was extremely painful, but said just yesterday that she cannot even remember the pain, and that she was glad that she had it done, because she never has strep any more. I’m sure you will feel the same way.

As for your concerns about empty nose syndrome, I’m sure that your mom, as a nurse, is sending you to a highly competent ENT. You should bring up your concerns about empty nose syndrome with him/her. I feel pretty confident that the likelihood of this happening is pretty slim.

hearkat's avatar

Hello, I am an Audiologist employed by a group of ENTs. I do not have first-hand experience, but the paitents who have had it typically report that while the recovery period is painful, the lasting change in their lives made it worthwhile. Since the doctor is fully aware of your special condition, the choice will likely be to err on the side of caution regarding the adenoids. If you aren’t scheduled to see the surgeon again before the surgery, consider calling the office and requesting that the doctor call you back to address any additional concerns that you have.

sndfreQ's avatar

My sister had this very procedure done about a month ago…her recovery was as others have already described here. Just remember the alternative which is to be where you are now or worse. As hearkat suggests,aybe wait on the adenoids…I had adenoids and tonsils removed about five years ago…one adenoid was the size of a golf ball! Which is why I question to this day why one of my nostrils is larger than the other…

…just kidding! They removed it through the mouth…just hang in there and make sure you’re not allergic to vicodin…that drug is a miracle drug!!!

shrubbery's avatar

Well I had it done on Tuesday and lordy did it hurt when I woke up from the anesthetic!
Got a shot to reduce the pain so I was ok but didn’t sleep the night afterwards and had already used my panadol quota for the next day so when they removed the padding from in my nose it hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt- like my brains were being pulled out my nose! But the swelling has gone down and it basically just feels really really stuffy now and I’m still getting a bit of dribble out my nose and back of my throat. I hope you’re right about feeling better by halves cause I want to get back up and about in the next couple of days!
Thanks for all your support and advice, I’m looking forward to being all cleared up.

sndfreQ's avatar

WOW! Congrats, and feel better shrub ;)

autumn43's avatar

Oh! So glad to hear everything went fine shrubbery!

You will feel better as each day goes by. I didn’t say it in my post as I didn’t want to scare you – but my husband said the WORST part was the packing being removed – most likely because you’re awake at that point. I was in the room and had to leave as I almost passed out. I heard him “YOWWWW!” from all the way down the hall. I believe he may have cried a tear or two at that point!

The worst part is over and you will get back to breathing better and feeling great in no time! Big hugs for being brave!

dpworkin's avatar

Coincidentally, a friend of mine just had this done. She was in some discomfort for a day, largely because the anesthetic made her throw up. Today the Doc took out the packing and the splints, and she says she feels much more comfortable. I hope this helps a little.

shrubbery's avatar

Another update for you all, feeling great now, almost all cleared up completely and I don’t snore anymore! Woohoo!

dpworkin's avatar

Perfect! Mazel Tov!

SeventhSense's avatar

so when they removed the padding from in my nose it hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt- like my brains were being pulled out my nose!
That’s exactly how I felt. It sucks

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