deviated septum surgery - my story, answering your questions

SEPTOPLASTY Recovery Day by Day: Deviated Septum Surgery + Recovery

his post is going to be so real and long with some straight up truth and details about my deviated septum surgery – a day by day recovery process written by someone who has actually done it, suffered and survived. LOL. Because I wrote most of this post during my septoplasty recovery and gave it some time before I cleaned it up and hit publish.

A septoplasty is when you have the bone inside your nose that obstructs airflow. It makes you tired, you might feel like you can only breathe fully from one nostril, and you can have other side affects like I did. A septoplasty is fixing your septum, not a cosmetic nose job like a rhinoplasty.

Some confuse the two because sometimes people need both procedures – or truthfully use the septum as an excuse to get a rhinoplasty. I say listen, if you’re going to go through this trouble, DO IT if you already are going to be uncomfortable, you may as well!

How I realized I needed Deviated Septum Surgery

A few years ago I used to wake up gasping for breath wondering if I was purposefully holding it due to a dream, or I wasn’t breathing and somehow it worked its say into a dream. Day after day, I would wake up exhausted.  I did a home test for sleep apnea. I got my hormones checked. Then I got a CT scan to see if I needed my sinus turbinates reduced (at the time Benjamin’s device help reduce turbs). So then we got this back (above). Oh my, will you look at that scan.

I also couldn’t sleep without my friend the Breathe Right Strip, for real. It was great I worked with them for a campaign a few years back – I showed them my scan and I think that sealed the deal. While it helped me tremendously, I just wanted to breathe properly without a strip for the rest of my life.

What does deviated septum surgery cost?

We are blessed that Benjamin has incredible insurance, zero deduction, so this surgery which would have been around $1500 didn’t cost us anything. I did pay $250 for the surgery center fees. Please know what your insurance coverage is – no one looks out for you like YOU do because they were going to charge us the full price since we didn’t meet our yearly deductible until Benjamin said, NO we have a ZERO deductible plan and then the office checked with the insurance and said they made a mistake (yeah ok insurance, suuuuure).

Benjamin said that a bill will usually be $3,000 but depending on your insurance you might just have to pay only 20% which is around $600. Once you have a consultation with an ENT surgeon they can tell you the final cost and fees.

Is deviated septum surgery itself painful?

When I woke up my throat hurt from the breathing tube. That was the only pain I felt was when I tried to eat.

My nose didn’t hurt one bit. I felt like I was sick (like a light fever or head cold for a week). But it doesn’t mean other parts didn’t hurt or I didn’t feel like I was suffering…more on that…

What is recovery like for deviated septum surgery? How long does it take to recover from deviated septum surgery?

What’s it like for recovery? Pinch your nose and breath out of your mouth. Can you do that for a day and sleep like that? What about a week?

It depends on what your doctor prefers. I couldn’t even handle a day. I got absolutely no sleep the first night and woke up crying from sleep deprivation. I was told this is normal.

I did not handle post op recovery well, my body is incredibly sensitive for not being a sensitive or over emotional person. I am not a crier and I cried twice within a week with how uncomfortable I was. I had a small fever I guess they call it a postoperative fever and mine stuck around for a few days.

I figured I would outline day by day recovery and daily tips to make post-deviated septum surgery recovery more comfortable.

deviated septum surgery - my story, answering your questions

Preparation and What to Expect Day by Day Recovery

How to prepare for septum surgery ahead of time (start clicking on these and add to your Amazon cart now), trust me you’ll thank me.

Day 1 – Surgery morning

I had an early morning surgery, woke up with a packed nose which they told me so I knew what to expect. I was groggy, I do not handle anesthesia as well as I thought. I had no pain other than a dry throat. I struggled falling asleep since I needed to stay elevated and for some reason my throat closes when I fell asleep so I would choke.

  • Immediately after surgery you should have someone stay with you. Benjamin was with me until he had to leave at 4 pm for work.
  • Use a damp paper towel to hang over your nose that lightly goes over your mouth to let you breathe (unless you have a humidifier than definitely sleep by one!)
  • Have a ride for the follow up appointment, you won’t be able to drive.
  • Use Aquaphor on my lips so they wouldn’t get chapped.

Day 2 – 10 am check up removal of packing

I cried from sleep deprivation. I probably got about 1-2 hours of sleep broken up in every 10 minutes. I don’t feel well with lack of sleep. I still felt weak and medicated so thankfully one of my best friends came to pick me up to take me to my follow up since Benjamin was out of town. I had a scary frog/monster voice from the dry throat. Once the packing was removed it felt great. That lasted for 10 minutes before my sinuses blocked up.

  • A saline sinus rinse aid helped, like a Neti Pot loosened things up so I could lightly blow (do not blow hard, in fact some say don’t blow your nose).
  • I slept anytime I could breathe out of my nose (which was just one of them) because when night time came I would get congested and couldn’t sleep. It was the only way to catch up on sleep.

Day 3 – I set up another appointment because of discomfort

Because I was concerned about not being able to breathe still, I went back to the doctor. I didn’t realize I was swollen which is normal. I slept more hours this night than the night before because I could breathe out of one nostril. He couldn’t do anything, it was just a wait it out, you have no choice.

  • I was told to pick up Afrin decongestant spray (be careful, use it sparingly as it says on the bottle. I have heard from several people it can be addicting and harm your nose if overused.)
  • Anytime I felt like I could breathe really well out of my nose, I slept while I could to get ahead.

Day 4 through Day 7

These few days I felt like I was battling a fever and headed cold. Pressure in my face. I also shoved a tissue so far up my nose a few times to get the snot because it was so contested that a staple came out.  (DO NOT DO THAT!!) But it has to sit back there and no blowing is allowed because if you pop a stitch, you gotta get your nose repacked. There was a moment I thought I did pop a stitch because the inside of my nose looks fleshy and blocked. Thank God that wasn’t the case, I later found out.

  • Humidifier and the eye mask helped me sleep during the day whenever I could get any breathing comfortably, just sleep.
  • I felt like I had a head cold/fever (apparently post surgery fever is common) and mine lingered longer.

Day 7 – Doctor follow-up sucking the gunk out of my nose

Went back to the doctors a day early. I couldn’t handle waiting any longer.  Every morning I woke up thinking crap, another day until I can get this mucus sucked out of my face? So we bumped up my appointment thankfully – and I also thought a stitch busted from my blowing and so I was worried. That afternoon we saw the doctor and he sucked everything out with a machine. I had to wait an entire week for that, because I needed to heal. I heard all this gunk which felt like a relief and suddenly I could breathe. Like there was not going to be enough blowing that could have ever gotten all that deep stuff out of there! I looked at him with my eyes wide open like, WOW I can breathe!

That night I slept for 12 hours in my own bed, lying down like a normal human.

  • I was told I could blow my nose.
  • No picking still. I had thought one nostril was OK for the go and I pulled out another staple (I’m a terrible patient).

Day 10

I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt nauseous that day. It could’ve been a combination of going outside, talking and lying down to get my lashes and the pressure of the drainage in the back of my throat. I went home not feeling very well.

Day 11

Sleeping and breathing great. Felt at 70% just felt good, like I was just getting over a cold and my sinuses needed to catch up. I see it being uphill from here. No weird foggy head like I don’t feel like I have a head cold, just my nose kind of on the tail end of getting over a cold, like the last few days.

  • Use saline spray or gel to keep the wound healing.
  • Looks like a huge red booger in my nose – it’s the skin covering the bone that is now healing and a scab. It’s HUGE but it is what it is. I am sure it will fall out when it’s ready.

Day 13 – the scab fell out

I call it my “nose raisin” haha, because that’s what it looks like inside your nose. It’s the scab. It fell out! It blocked most of my nose so I was happy to see it gone. Feeling 85-90% better, don’t feel sick one bit, just not 100% yet.

  • Use a saline gel to keep the tender area moist for healing.

Would I do it again?

If you asked me the first seven days, I’d tell you not only no, but hell no and I’d rather sleep with a Breathe Right Strip the rest of my life.

Told you I’d be real with you. The way my body handles surgery and recovery, I had immediately regretted getting it. I had one hour of sleep, I cried and I was so emotional and I just wanted to sleep.

But after day 7 when the gunk got sucked out, that helped me breathe and I was a normal person. The few days that followed, it got much better and was uphill.

Today it’s been months and I can sleep like a regular person! It has been so wonderful to sleep on any side I want, it’s freeing! I don’t feel like I’m choking in my sleep and my energy level is up. A good night’s sleep really does determine your mood and how the next day goes! So was it worth it? Yes, even though it was so hard, but unfortunately, it came at a small cost.

Does your nose shape change after septoplasty?

I talked to a girlfriend who had hers done and asked me if mine did and I said yes (I saw it, no one else did) and she said hers did too. No one may notice it but you, however you can fix it with either plastic surgery, a filler on the bridge of your nose yearly (find a plastic surgeon to do this injection you can go blind if it’s injected in the wrong place), or you can live with your new nose and be happy you can breathe. For some, it might be an improvement – you never know!

deviated septum surgery - my story, answering your questions

Photos by Autumn Renae. Makeup and hair by Lizzy Marsh.

Diana Elizabeth has a super sensitive nose too – she got a sinus infection from smelling too much potent perfume in a perfume factory in France. She now has to guard her little nose, oops! 

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Shareen El-Emam

    Currently suffering and am on day 4. I woke up today feeling all in all awful and I’m not sure it’s normal. I also am having. The thought of why did I do this to myself. Thank you for sharing your experience. It helps to know there is a finish line in the future. I get my stints removed in 4 days and I wish it was sooner!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Shareen, oh I am SOOOO sorry I know how frustrating it can be. I documented it because I was going insane myself and I thought I had to share the post because it was just a difficult experience. Hang in there, I know it’s very uncomfortable!

  • Jen

    Thank you for sharing this! My husband found your blog and sent it my way. Day 3 and I’m miserable. I usually handle surgeries pretty well but this is kicking my butt so bad. The silicone splints are awful, one side of my face is super swollen, and I can’t massage my nose because I also got latera implants. Why am I sharing all this? I don’t know I am thankful for your honest post because this stuff is the worst! I was able to make my post opp bump up a day to get the stents out and hopefully I can get my nose sucked out too

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Oh Jen, Day 3!!! At least now you know you are totally normal in your suffering – in fact you are right on track! I hope you get all the gunk sucked out and you will be happy with your nose, and hopefully it will be the last time you have to endure any kind of nose surgery xx

  • Lolita

    Hi im almost 1 month post op, i still feel congested and my throat gets dry most of the time worst at night. How’s your recovery doing so far?

    • Diana Elizabeth

      A month? Wow, I don’t think you should be feeling that way at all. I’d get that checked out! I’m sorry :(

  • Jen

    Omg thank you so much for this day by day. I feel like my experience has been similar to yours. I’m on day 4 and these past couple of days have been so hard and I was wondering if anyone had head fevers like me. Your day by day experience is helping me cope with it because I have anxiety as well so I’m worried about everything. It’s comforting that I share many symptoms with you (odd thing to say, I know hahah). Thank you for this again!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I am so glad you found this post to help you!! I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well I know the pain! But you will get there girl!!

  • Tori

    Diana, thank you for sharing your story. I just had septoplasty and turbinate surgery on 9-3-2020. It’s been a struggle for me, no pain, just annoying congestion and I barely sleep. Reading your story has given me hope. Unfortunately, I’m a smoker so maybe that’s what is taking me longer but I know I will get there. Again thank you for keeping it real!!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Tori, Oh my word do I feel your pain!! UGH!!! I had the same as you!! It’s like sooooo much healing. I’m glad you stumbled across my post and it gave you some hope – hang in there, it will get better. You are at the end of the recovery so the worst is over. Put on some Netflix and take some sleepy meds to help you just pass the heck out lol it will never be comfy but you just need to get sleepy enough to at least try. :) Happy breathing soon!!

  • ron

    I just had the same thing done and I’m on day 4 of recovery. My left side of my face is red and numb but I can breathe through one nostril. I’m looking forward to this being fully healed! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Ron, oh wow that’s a huge thing to be able to breathe out of one!! Stay patient, it’ll be worth it in the end, so glad my story could help!


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