A nasal splint is a device that can be placed on the inside or the outside of the nose following nasal surgery. Nasal splints are used to immobilise bones and tissue, minimise scar tissue and control bleeding and swelling. Nasal splints are made of a variety of materials including silicon, aluminium and plastic.
According to Boston Medical, the purpose of an internal nasal splint is to provide "septal support and allow nasal breathing postoperatively through the integral airway." Internal nasal splints are commonly used for nasal reconstruction or deviated septum surgery where the nose must be supported from the inside. External nasal splints are intended to "provide septal support and reduce or prevent adhesions between the septum and lateral nasal wall following surgery." External nasal splints are more commonly used with rhinoplasty or nasal resurfacing.
Internal Nasal Splints
An internal nasal splint has perforated holes on each end that are sutured into the nasal cavity following surgery. Most internal nasal splints are made of a medical-grade silicone that can be trimmed to fit prior to insertion. Some of the more advanced splints contain a sponge portion that expands after it comes into contact with fluid to form a more snug fit in the nasal cavity.
External Nasal Splints
External nasal splints can be used instead of internal splints, particularly for rhinoplasty or nasal contouring procedures. To apply an external nasal splint, a special tape will first be applied to the nose and then a custom moulded splint will be added. The splint reduces swelling and improves shaping of the nose. External nasal splints are made of medical-grade silicone, aluminium or fluoroplastic and are available in a variety of thicknesses.