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What Is a Nasal Splint?

By Nya Bruce
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A nasal splint is a device that is meant specifically to fit into or on the nose for the purpose of providing support. The nose is made up of cartilage and bone that can be broken by accident or injury, or it may be altered during surgery. When this happens, a splint is often necessary for a short period during the healing process.

Typically, a nasal splint may be made from either plastic or metal. Depending on the type of surgery and where the splint is needed, the material may be rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. They are frequently made of metal, plastic soft foam or silicone. Metal splints are for external use and may be padded for comfort.

In addition to metal, foam or rigid plastic splints are primarily the type of nasal splint that is placed over the outside of the nose. The primary purpose of rigid, or external splint is to prevent the nose from moving and to help the cartilage maintain its shape post surgery or after an injury. A patient wearing this type of splint must keep it on for up to ten days. An external nasal splint is frequently used following a rhinoplasty. This is a type of surgical procedure that alters the shape and overall appearance of the person's nose.

More flexible nasal splints are generally made of a type of soft plastic or silicone and are placed inside of the nose as opposed to the outside of it, for the sake of stability. This is typically necessary when a procedure called septoplasty is performed. Septoplasty is a procedure that is done on the septum, or the part of the nose that divides the two nostrils. It is often performed on noses that have been broken or if the septum is deviated. The splint is inserted to help hold the septum in the correct place.

Occasionally, a person with may start having difficulties breathing through the nose after a soft nasal splint has been inserted. This often occurs if dried blood begins to build up on the splint. He may also experience some discomfort, particularly if the splint is held in place by a stitch in the septum. In addition to comfort, he may also notice a change in the appearance of his nose. Splints may make the nose appear wider than it actually is, however the change is only temporary and once the splints are removed the nose will return to its normal size.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1000337 — On Aug 26, 2018

This is probably not the best option for most folks, but I'm a cannabis patient and using a low dose frequently during the days following the procedure when anxiety was really high about not being able to breathe helped in several ways.

1. Significantly reduced the anxiety caused by not being able to breathe, at times I thought I was going to have to be admitted that a few puffs off my bowl definitely saved me from having additional aggravation at the hospital.

2. Reduced the amount of inflammation agitating the area

3. Reduced the amount of phlegm production contributing to congestion in the area.

4. Helped me to keep a higher interest in diet, drinking fluids and other supportive activities.

5. Eliminated my urge to mess with my nose, dressing or otherwise the whole region that needed to be left alone.

Most importantly, it drastically improved my overall comfort. The bleeding had stopped by the second day, and now 4 days in I'm feeling significantly better. I've been awake for most of the day today, fairly active, cooked some meals, cleaned up a bit, and am feeling much better overall. Still am relatively homebound, but I actually considered going out of the house today, so that's a marked improvement.

By Heavanet — On Sep 11, 2014

@raynbow- When I was in college, my best friend had rhinoplasty and I helped her though the weeks of healing that followed her procedure. She also had to wear a nasal splint, and had some discomfort from her nose being stuffy due to the surgery.

One thing that your doctor will advise you to do is to not bother your nose right after surgery. Though this may seem like it will be hard to do, if you don't leave it alone during the first few days of healing, you could risk changing your results. No matter how much you want to rub or blow it, you simply will have to ignore these urges.

After a few days, you may be prescribed a nasal spray by your doctor to help you with your stuffy nose. This will depend on how extensive your surgery is and when your doctor determines that it will be safe for your to use one.

During this time, your doctor may also show you how to gently clean your healing nose with cotton swabs. This will allow you to remove dried blood so you will be able to breath better.

Another good tip to follow while wearing a nasal splint following nose surgery is to sleep with your head elevated. This will be very beneficial in helping you to breath as you heal.

By Raynbow — On Sep 10, 2014

If you have to wear a nasal splint and experience difficulties in breathing like the article mentions, what can be done to ease this discomfort? I am planning to have rhinoplasty, but I am not looking forward to the healing process or wearing one of these splints.

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