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Septoplasty with Turbinate Reduction and Lupus

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I have not been very active on my lupus blog lately due to having surgery on my nose earlier this summer, my chronic idiopathic urticaria  and recently my partial nephrectomy I had for Kidney Cancer.

A few months ago, I had septoplasty with turbinate reduction done to help me with breathing issues I had been having for quite some time.  After an initial CT scan requested from my ENT doctor, I was diagnosed with a deviated septum and bilateral concha bullosa.

The CT scan also said that I had a nasal spur on the same side as my deviated septum.  Basically, the whole left side of my nasal passage was blocked and I could barely breathe any air in or out of it.  Then, when you throw in severe allergies and inflammation from lupus, there is a recipe for disaster.  I literally was to the point I felt like I was suffocating day in and day out.  It was terrible trying to breathe and I had to use multiple pillows to keep my head propped to get some adequate sleep.


septoplasty turbinate reduction lupus

What is Concha Bullosa?

The conchae are structures made of bone inside of your nose. They help control the airflow, sanitation, and warming of air into your nose. According to Healthline, Concha bullosa happens when one of the conchae, or turbinates, inside your nose becomes filled with a pocket of air.   I happened to have bilateral concha bullosa, which meant that I had turbinates on both sides of my nose that had enlarged with air and were creating a blockage from my deviated septum.


What is Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction Surgery?

When my ENT said that I would need surgery, I was somewhat relieved.  I felt as though I was literally suffocating and was ready to finally be able to breathe for once in my life.  He explained the procedure and I was a little terrified of the fact of having surgery on my nose.  Even though I have had numerous surgeries over the years, this one scared me more than any of the others I had.

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum.  A deviated septum is a displacement of the bone and cartilage that divides your two nostrils.  Some people are born with a deviated septum and others may get one from an injury.  I am pretty sure that I have had mine since i was born. During septoplasty, your nasal septum is straightened and repositioned in the middle of your nose with surgery.

Turbinate Reduction is the surgical reduction or removal of enlarged turbinates.  I had what is referred to as turbinate hypertrophy, which means they my turbinates were really enlarged.  According to John Hopkins, the goal of turbinate reduction surgery in patients with turbinate hypertrophy is to correct the problem of nasal obstruction by reducing the turbinate size and thereby decreasing airway resistance while preserving the natural function of the turbinates.


Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction with Lupus Surgery Review

I am not going to lie when I say that my nerves had me anxious prior to surgery.  Something about surgery on my face just did not sit right with me.   I was told the surgery would last around an hour because I was also getting another T-tube in my right ear as well.

septoplasty surgery and lupus
Here’s an embarassing picture of me shortly after my surgery…enjoy lol

The surgery itself was pretty rough.  I really was not expecting the insane amount of blood and drainage that came from my nose in the week following my surgery.  I was given a medical mask that was folded and acted as a ‘nose pad’.  I had to change this pad often because I was leaking so much blood.  My nose was inflamed like crazy inside and was told to breathe out of my nose for a week following the surgery.  This was easy because I had splints in my nose for a week and because of the crazy inflammation and drainage, I literally couldn’t breathe at all out of my nose.

I regretted the surgery almost immediately upon waking up out of surgery.  It was a rough surgery if I am going to be honest.  I had a pretty bad migraine from the splints, but am happy to say that it resolved almost immediately after the splints were removed.

Now that it has been a few months, I am happy to say that I am happy to have gotten this surgery!  I had a large section of tissue removed and my deviated septum was corrected.  Since the inflammation has gone down and the splints were removed, I could notice a major difference in my breathing.  Honestly, the first thing I noticed was the pressure I had gotten so used to was completely gone under my left eye.

Lupus and Deviated Septum Surgery
My tissue pathology results from my surgery.

The only thing that is a bit strange since having this surgery, is that my nasal septum is numb.  I am not sure if I will regain feeling in it, but I really do not notice it until I blow my nose.  It seems to be mostly numb on the right side.  I guess it is a small price to pay for being able to actually breathe through my nose for the first time in my life.

If I were to do this all over again, I would definitely still elect to have this surgery.  If you have similar breathing issues and are contemplating this surgery, I would tell you to do your research on the post operative care of this surgery.  I believe that the more things you learn about going into the surgery can help you in your recovery.  Do not let the horror stories or complications deter you from getting this surgery if your ENT has recommended it.

To me, all of the horror of this surgery was completely worth it now that I can breathe.  Easy breathing is something that you can surely take for granted until you experience a health issue that causes breathing complications.


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