Septoplasty insurance coverage might be possible provided that the patient and his doctor are able to prove that this type of nose surgery aims to improve breathing functions. For this reason, proper medical documentation is of critical importance.
While septoplasty is commonly combined with rhinoplasty, or more commonly referred to as nose job, its only aim is to improve the function of the nose—not its outside appearance or “aesthetics.”
Septoplasty primarily “aligns” the deviated septum, which is the strip or wall of tissue between the nostrils, ultimately eliminating the “obstruction” of airflow. In general, it has no or very little effect on the outside appearance of the nose, according to California Surgical Institute website.
Should the patient and his doctor are able to demonstrate that septoplasty is a medically warranted procedure, health insurance is possible. Many surgeons these days have well-trained staff who can verify insurance coverage and possibly help individuals secure proper medical documentations.
Nonetheless, septoplasty insurance coverage typically means that the patient will still pay for the deductibles, copays, etc.
It is not uncommon to combine septoplasty and rhinoplasty in one surgery. Should the insurance agree to cover the cost of the “reconstructive part” of the operation, the patient will still have to pay for the anesthesia “time” associated with the cosmetic aspect of the procedure.
It is almost always ideal to combine septoplasty and rhinoplasty (should the patient wish for cosmetic improvements as well) instead of performing them separately. With combo procedure, he will only experience recovery once and possibly lower the overall cost of the surgery.
Doing them together also gives the surgeon more “options” and better control over the aesthetic aspect of the nose. For instance, instead of throwing away the removed [excess] septal cartilage, which contributes to the abnormal airflow, he is able to re-use it to refine the tip and/or create a stronger structural support.
As of this writing, the average cost of septoplasty combined with rhinoplasty varies from $5,000 to $8,000.
Facial plastic surgery and smoking do not mix. First and foremost, smokers have compromised healing due to the effects of nicotine and the hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals found in a single cigarette stick.
While instructions about complete cessation of tobacco products may differ from surgeon to surgeon, the consensus is that three weeks is enough to flush out most of their detrimental effects.
Tobacco products contain nicotine, which is a strong vasoconstrictor, i.e., it causes blood vessels to constrict therefore the nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood flows less efficiently. Ultimately, it takes a longer time for the patients to heal and they become more susceptible to infection and skin necrosis in which the tissue turns black and dies due to lack of oxygen.
Facelift for smokers is particularly risky. In this procedure doctors create skin flaps, which are healthy tissue that is partly detached and moved to create a tighter, more youthful appearance.
But with constricted blood vessels these skin flaps may not receive enough oxygen and nutrients and ultimately “die.” For this reason smokers are more likely to have revisions than non-smokers after facial plastic surgery to address poor scarring.
Also, smoking defeats the inherent purpose of facelift, i.e., to achieve a more youthful appearance, because it significantly accelerates the skin’s aging rate.
Smoking also has detrimental effects on patients having rhinoplasty, or more commonly referred to as nose job. According to California Surgical Institute website, because of the delay healing the grafts and the underlying anatomies of the nose are susceptible to injuries for a longer period of time.
After about two weeks, the grafts and the new contour created by rhinoplasty are more “stable.” But in smokers, the healing process occurs at a much slower pace that they are at an increased risk of inadvertent shifting of the bones due to trauma.
Coughing episode is another common issue with smokers since tobacco disturbs the lining of the lungs and bronchi.
It is important to note that coughing episodes could lead to hematoma (internal bleeding) and persistent swelling, further complicating the patient’s recovery.
Furthermore, a 2005 study has suggested that smokers require 23 percent more pain medications after an operation, and 33 percent more anesthesia during surgery than non-smokers.
The quintessential goal of facial plastic surgery procedures such as rhinoplasty (nose job), facelift, etc., is to achieve a more youthful and/or harmonious appearance. Furthermore, the results must also be gender appropriate and in sync with the rest of the facial features, says leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
Over the past several years, rhinoplasty, facelift, and eyelid surgery have been the most commonly requested procedures of both men and women, according to surveys released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr. Smiley believes that the patient’s gender is one of the key variables that determines the ideal correction and surgical approach.
For both men and women, rhinoplasty ranks as one of the most commonly requested procedures. But due to its technically demanding nature, medical literature suggests that it has a higher revision rate compared to other facial plastic surgery procedures.
Aside from residual asymmetry, patients asking for revision rhinoplasty also complain about results that look of out sync with their gender and ethnicity, two key variables that a surgeon should have deep understanding to achieve a satisfying outcome.
Male noses are generally accepted to appear wider, longer, and bigger compared to female noses. For this reason, over-reduction, creation of suptra tip break (which contributes to the slightly upturned, “cutesy” nose), and over-narrowing of the nasal profile can spell disaster for most men.
Other key differences include straighter or more arched nasal bridge and more acute tip in men than women.
Facelift is another popular facial plastic surgery for both men and women. Contrary to popular belief, modern techniques go beyond pulling and tightening the skin that most also include the correction of volume/fat loss that contributes to the aged, gaunt appearance.
A good number of facelift patients also require “volumizers” to correct the hollowed cheeks. But when dealing with men, it is critical not to make the malar (cheekbones) prominent lest it could lead to a more rounded, fuller look that is synonymous with feminine beauty.
Most volumizers today come in the form of dermal fillers or fat transfer, although patients who need more correction (extremely gaunt cheeks) or desire for a more angular appearance might be more suitable for facial implants.
While cheek implants are more popular among female patients, the vast majority of patients requesting for chin and jaw implants are men because a more angular, chiseled face is closely tied to masculine attractiveness.
While there are generally accepted beauty ideals dictated by gender, Dr. Smiley says that facial attractiveness is determined by other key variables such as “right and left” symmetry, averageness, and youthfulness, among others.
On average, nose surgery cost is around $7,000, although it is important to note that the actual price depends on a number of factors including the clinic’s location, amount of correction needed, and surgical venue.
Should the surgery involve complex surgical maneuvers, some patients should expect to pay more (up to $10,000-$12,000), as suggested by experts at the California Surgical Institute.
While most nose surgeries are performed as an outpatient procedure, a few patients may require a hospital stay, which can add up to the cost.
The surgeon’s fee accounts for about half of the nose surgery cost, with one survey suggesting that on average it is around $3,500. In general, patients pay for their doctor’s experience, which has a large influence on the success rate.
Nose surgery, or medically referred to as rhinoplasty, is one of the most complicated procedures in the field of facial plastic surgery, so a prudent patient will not shop around for bargain deals at the expense of his safety and appearance.
Nevertheless, expensive surgeons do not necessarily mean better qualifications or experience.
The general rule of thumb is to find a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who performs nose surgery on a regular basis (ideally every week for more than a decade). His experience, aside from education and training, has a large influence on the results of plastic surgery, which is described as more of an art than a science.
It might be ideal to talk with three or more rhinoplastic doctors to further make an informed decision. A good rapport plays a crucial role in the success of nose surgery or any elective procedure in which the goal is to improve one’s appearance.
While oftentimes the results of nose surgery can be revised, it is highly ideal to get it right the first time because major revisions are more expensive and result in longer recovery and higher risk of complications.
Full recovery from major revisions can take up to two years, especially if the patient has a markedly thick nasal skin, as opposed to the usual 9-12 months healing period after primary surgeries.
However, minor revision surgeries are less invasive, involve shorter recovery, and are usually less expensive than primary rhinoplasties.
Some doctors perform revision nose surgery on their previous patients for free, although the latter should still pay for expenses related to anesthesia, surgical facility, and postop medications.
Also, some surgeons offer insurance programs, which cover the cost of revisions should their patients develop cosmetic-related issues or breathing problems.
How a septoplasty is performed depends on the anatomies and underlying problems. Nevertheless, its goal is to correct the misaligned or deviated septum or the wall separating the two nostrils, thus improving one’s breathing functions and even quality of life.
Dr. Karan Dhir, one of the leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, says septoplasty as a stand-alone procedure takes 30-90 minutes to complete, although it could be longer when combined with rhinoplasty in which the “outside” appearance of the nose is improved as well.
Septoplasty and rhinoplasty (or nose job) are commonly performed together if there is also a desire for cosmetic improvement. Also, it gives the surgeon the opportunity to use the nasal cartilage (or “main structure” supporting the nose) instead of getting it from other donor sites such as the bowl of the ear or rib.
As a stand-alone procedure, septoplasty rarely changes the outside appearance of the nose unless there is a very visible deviation prior to surgery.
Most septoplasties use incisions in the nostrils so there is no risk of visible scar. During surgery, doctors will make a cut on one side of the nose to lift the mucous membrane around the deviated septum.
The deviated septum is then straightened and any barrier or protruding nasal bone or cartilage is removed, trimmed, or filed. Once the necessary adjustments are made, the mucous membrane is positioned back.
Most patients will need stitches to support the new contour or hold the septum and membrane in place, although others will only require cotton, soft plastic sheets, or splints to keep them in position.
The success of any type of nose surgery (both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures) is largely determined by the surgeon’s level of skills. Ideally, it is performed by someone who has double board certifications in facial plastic surgery and ENT (ear, nose, and throat).
In most cases, septoplasty results in a straightforward recovery, with pain easily managed by prescribed medications. However, aspirin and aspirin-like products must be avoided for about 1-2 weeks to prevent healing problems, persistent swelling, and bleeding.
Instead of the actual pain, patients often think that nasal stuffiness is the most bothersome symptom, which could take up to six weeks to dissipate. However, controlling the amount of swelling (through head elevation, ice packs, and low-sodium diet) is one way to improve breathing function.
Ice packs have also been shown to control pain, although the general rule of thumb is to use them not more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid cold burns and injuries.