What is a Deviated Septum?
A deviated septum is a common condition that involves a displacement of the septum, the wall that separates the nostrils, to one side of the nose. In adults, the septum is made of cartilage and bone, and helps to support the nose and its mucous membranes, and enables regular air flow. A deviated septum often develops as a result of an injury to the nose. This condition may cause one nasal passage to be smaller than the other, which can affect breathing if the difference is great enough. A deviated septum may also be the underlying cause of sinus problems, snoring or sleep apnea. Serving Bayside, Queens, Long Island, and surrounding areas.
Causes of a Deviated Septum
In most cases, a deviated septum is present at birth with interchanging symptoms over time. In some cases, a deviated septum is caused by trauma to the nose that displaces the septum. Nasal injuries are often the result of playing sports or car accidents.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
As a result of the uneven nasal passages caused by a deviated septum, a patient may have difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms may include:
- Nasal congestion
- Frequent sinus infections
This condition can also lead to facial pain, headaches and postnasal drip, which can significantly affect quality of life. A deviated septum may also cause snoring or sleep apnea. Those with only minor displacement may not even be aware of the deviated septum and experience no symptoms at all.
Diagnosis of a Deviated Septum
To diagnose a deviated symptom, a doctor will perform a thorough physical examination, and review all symptoms. In addition, an endoscopy may be performed. An endoscope and a bright light are used to open up the nostrils and nasal passages, enabling a thorough visual evaluation.
Deviated Septum Treatment
Treatment for a deviated septum varies depending on its severity and the symptoms it is causing. For most patients, this condition can be managed through decongestants and antihistamines that aim to reduce nasal congestion. For more severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the displacement. Surgery involves a procedure called septoplasty, which repositions the septum in the center of the nose. This procedure is often performed in conjunction with rhinoplasty, or nose-reshaping surgery, which enhances the appearance of the nose while correcting structural abnormalities. The results of septoplasty are permanent, but may take up to a year to become evident because the cartilage and bone of the septum tend to heal slowly.
Many people experience a significant lessening of symptoms post-surgery. Results, however, may vary depending on the severity of the deviation. In some cases, the septum may gradually shift over time, and patients may require a second septoplasty to once again relieve symptoms.
Q & A
Is the nose broken when a deviated septum is fixed?
Fixing a deviated septum usually does NOT involve breaking the nose, and there is no swelling, bruising, or change in appearance following the procedure.
What Is A Septoplasty?
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct defects or deformities of the septum. The nasal septum is the separation between the two nostrils. In adults, it is composed of both cartilage and bone. The nasal septum has three functions: support the nose, regulate air flow, and support the mucous membranes of the nose. A number of medical conditions may indicate a need for the procedure including nasal air passage obstruction, a deviated septum, tumors, chronic and uncontrolled nosebleeds, or the presence of polyps, etc. Additionally, a septoplasty may be performed in conjunction with a rhinoplasty in order to ensure that the reshaping of the nose does not result in a reduction of the amount of breathing space.
Patients who undergo Septoplasty return home the same day and do not experience pain or bruising.
Sometimes patients are dissatisfied with the appearance of their nose, whether or not they’ve experienced nasal trauma. Our Ear, Nose and Throat specialists treat the nose as a complete unit, and therefore both breathing and cosmetic issues are addressed. This means that not only should the nose look good, but breathing problems should also be corrected. We do not believe that the ‘same’ nose is right for everybody, and tailor an individual approach to each patient’s desires.
Functional rhinoplasty is performed for health purposes to relieve a nasal obstruction. This obstruction is often caused by a deviated septum and may result in breathing problems. Through a simple corrective procedure, these problems can be relieved and a more balanced appearance can also be achieved.
Reconstructive rhinoplasty is performed to repair deformities caused by injury, birth defects or aging. It can also be used to remove external skin tumors or internal nasal tumors. These procedures require extra precision and should only be performed by an experienced surgeon. Aesthetic reshaping is an additional benefit of reconstructive rhinoplasty.