My Experience with a Nasal Septum Deviation

Generic shot off Wikipedia (Not my own skull)

As some of my friends know I underwent a surgery to fix a nasal septum deviation issue in my nose just over two weeks ago in Amman, Jordan. Several friends have been asking me about the surgery and the procedure as they had the same problem and were considering undergoing the treatment as well but were hesitant and unsure about it so here is a ‘small’ write-up of my experience.

Small note: Readers should keep in mind that each person’s body and nose is unique, and that different people may require different treatments and procedures to the one I had, furthermore, different doctors have different methods and treatments.

When I was a teenager (Feels like it was decades ago) I learned about the deviation in my nose and was advised to undergo the surgery, but there was no urgent need to do it and that it is not crucial. I forgot about the issue but kept it in the back of my mind. I was not expecting or planning to fix it as I did not feel there was a dire need for it.

Towards the end of 2012/start of 2013 I was engrossed in various types of outdoor activities, namely swimming, running and football and I started facing trouble with my breathing and sleeping, but I was assuming that it was my body adjusting to the change of weather in Dubai as it started to finally get cooler. To be on the safe side I booked a couple of appointments with two different Ear, Nose and Throat specialists just to check if there is anything wrong. The day I was supposed to see the first one I fell ill  (good timing) and thought I had a common flu/cold but it turned out to be a sinus infection. I was told by the doctor that the main reason for this was the deviation, which led to my nose getting more and more clogged and congested, which placed pressure on the sinus and eventually led to the infection. The second doctor I saw (After recovering from the infection) did a couple of scans which showed that my sinus still had trails of infection (If this is the best way to describe it) and that a surgical procedure was essential and that he could do the surgery (Will go into the cost details later on).

Me being me I made an appointment with a third doctor who suggested I take some medication for two months and see what happens. He said something interesting before I left his clinic: “Why undergo the surgery when there might be a way to avoid it? There is no rewind button in life”. So I took the meds for two months and I could feel the difference as it helped ease my breathing issues, I was sleeping better and even running better, but I opted not to continue taking the meds as it was not a permanent solution. I made arrangements to undergo the surgery in Amman, Jordan in the third week of June 2013. If I didn’t undergo the surgery, I would still face problems in the future with sinus infections, breathing difficulties and struggling to sleep.

I met the doctor on Saturday June 22nd in Amman, did a CT scan and a blood test on the same day and was admitted into the hospital for the surgery itself the following morning (Sunday June 23rd). I was told that the doctor wouldn’t touch the sinus, but he will fix the deviated septum and he would remove some “turbinates/polyp/Adenoid” (My medical vocabulary is very limited and had to ask on Twitter for the word I wanted, in Arabic we call it “la7meyat”). I admit I was nervous before the surgery despite knowing that it was a routine minor surgery with little risk but thankfully it went smoothly. I spent a night in the hospital (Although I was told I could leave on the same day but I opted to stay there) and the next day I was discharged after the doctor removed ‘something’ from my nostrils (I think they were either cotton pieces or sponges). Breathing on that night was not easy, and there was general discomfort (Maybe not much pain, but more discomfort) as my nose was blocked. I still had a piece of plastic in each nostril, which were to be removed on Wednesday June 26 (Three days after the surgery).

The three days after the surgery were spent entirely at home to recuperate. The three days were not easy to be honest as the effect of the painkillers from the surgery were long gone and I had to keep on cleaning my nose regularly with sprays and water, which was not easy as it was a messy, bloody and slightly painful, all of which are expected after an operation. Getting sleep was not easy either with the difficulty of breathing, and whenever I managed to get any sleep I would wake up with a very sore throat (No breathing from the nose because of the plastic pieces which was painful and annoying). In all fairness, the general feeling was of discomfort more than pain, but it was not easy. My energy levels were very low and even walking around the house doing basic chores was tiring but I kept on reminding myself of the long-term benefits of the procedure and that it will pay off.

Wednesday finally came and the plastic pieces and some strings were removed with ease by the doctor. He told me I could live my life normally now and go out etc., and we scheduled a follow-up appointment for the following week. I went out on family visits in the following days and I noticed that I used to get tired rather quickly (understandable), I also still had trouble breathing from my nose as it was still not 100% healed, but this improved gradually.

As for exercising, I started walking around the house and in the neighborhood the week that followed, with very, very light jogging (Short distances). According to what I read online is that running and non-contact sports and exercises can be resumed normally 2-3 weeks after the surgery. I was able to complete a full 5k jog (without halting) after exactly two weeks of undergoing the operation and did a full 10k jog the day after. I was still not breathing entirely from my nose as it is not back to normal, but I think it will be fully functional in the next two-three weeks. I should be able to play contact sports within the next 4-5 weeks hopefully. The doctor told me that I could play before that if I find a protective mask, similar to the ones some footballers were after breaking their noses.

One thing that I was not aware of, as part of the regular daily cleaning sessions I came across a small thread or string in my nose, me being the naive me thought it was some piece of dirt which I stupidly tried to pull (Which hurt), when I realized it won’t work I gave my doctor a call and he told me that it’s from the surgery and that it should not be tampered with (But thankfully no damage was done because of my pulling attempts). I wish I was told about it before, as I was under the impression that there was nothing left in my nose. According to what friends told me that this thread/string will dissolve eventually on its own and that it’s not to be worried about.

Monetary damage now, had I done it in Dubai it would have cost around AED 16,000 – 20,000 (Between approximately $4,360 – $5,450). In Jordan the cost of the whole thing (Inclusive of hospital fees, doctor fees, blood tests, scans etc.) was approximately 1,300 Jordanian Dinars (Approximately AED 6,700 / $1,800). The lower cost, coupled with the better health system in Jordan (No disrespect to the UAE’s hospitals, doctors etc. but I trust them here more) and the chance to recover with family around were all reasons why I opted to undergo it in Amman.

All in all, it was a smooth process and it will pay off well gradually as the nose heals entirely. Do I recommend it? Well, as I stated at the start of the post it depends from one person to another. I could have lived on my life without it, but at a risk of suffering with sinus and breathing issues. It is definitely worth talking to some specialists about it like I did and get their opinions.