What Is a Deviated Septum and What Causes It?
Did you know that almost 80% of people have a deviation of their nasal septum due to genetics, injury or trauma?
A deviated septum is a condition of the nose where the thin wall of bone and cartilage that separates your left and right nasal cavities is displaced to one side, or crooked. This thin wall is referred to as your nasal septum and when it’s displaced, crooked, or deviated, it can make one of the nasal passages smaller than the other. There are many people living with a deviated septum that don’t seek treatment because they’re either asymptomatic or the symptoms they experience are only slightly uncomfortable.
However, many people do suffer from a severe deviation of the septum which can block one side of the nasal passage and result in reduced airflow. This makes breathing difficult and can lead to snoring and sleep apnea. A deviated septum can also cause additional oral or dental problems such as bad breath or tooth decay.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
- Difficulty breathing
- Significant congestion in one nostril (versus less significant congestion in the other nostril)
- Repeated Sinus infections
- Chronic post nasal drip leading to sore throat or ear pressure
- Facial pain
- Snoring, loud breathing during sleep, or sleep apnea
Deviated Septum Treatment
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, please call BergerHenry ENT Specialty Group for an appointment with our board-certified otolaryngologists (ENTs)so that the proper diagnosis can be determined.
If we do determine that you have a deviated symptom, we may prescribe medication to try to offset the symptoms. If medicine doesn’t provide the necessary relief, we may recommend a septoplasty which is a simple, minimally invasive outpatient procedure that straightens the nasal septum in order to improve breathing. Most patients are able to resume normal lifestyle activities the next day.
Septoplasty is derived from the term “septo” which relates to the nasal septum, and “plasty” meaning molding, grafting, or forming. During the septoplasty, our ENT surgeon creates a small incision in your nasal septum from the inside of the nose and proceeds to reshape or partially remove enough bone or cartilage until the nasal passage is large enough to allow for normal, comfortable breathing patterns. Our unique, minimally invasive technique requires NO NASAL PACKING – which is and has been commonly used for years for nasal surgery. Therefore, there is no expected swelling or bruising of the nose or face and in most cases, patients can return to work the very next day.
At times, we are asked to perform a rhinoplasty (nose job) in conjunction with the septoplasty procedure to improve the appearance of a patient’s nose. This procedure is referred to as a septorhinoplasty.
We all have 3 turbinates in our noses: Superior turbinates (upper), Middle turbinates, and Inferior turbinates (lower). Turbinates are nasal radiators that clean, warm, and moisten air before it reaches the lungs. The inferior, or lower, turbinate, is the most important! Inferior turbinates can become inflamed due to allergies, infections, weather changes, medications, and a Deviated Septum. When they continually become inflamed, it is chronic and is referred to as turbinate hypertrophy. When the nasal septum deviates to one side, the inferior turbinate that becomes inflamed is commonly and almost assuredly on the opposite side. A turbinate reduction (turbinoplasty) and straightening of the nasal septum (septoplasty) can open both nasal airways allowing you to breathe freely again while also relieving susceptibility to chronic sinus infections, chronic post nasal drip, headaches, snoring, and sleep apnea.