If you’ve been told that you have a deviated septum, you might not understand completely what that means. The term “deviated septum” gets tossed around a lot these days, but many men and women talk about the condition without ever getting a full explanation from a specialist. Your primary care physician or an ENT specialist (ear, nose, and throat) can diagnose a deviated septum officially and help you identify the symptoms caused by it. By learning more about the causes, effects, and treatment options for deviated septum, you can plan your next steps for correcting the problem.
Defining the Term Deviated Septum
The septum is a tiny piece of cartilage found within the nose. It serves as a barrier between the nasal passageways, helping to maintain the steady flow of air in and out of the nose. When the cartilage is misaligned in some way, the tilting can create imbalance in your breathing. Sinus drainage and sleeping issues may also result from one or both nasal passageways being partially or entirely blocked. Roughly 80 percent of people have a deviated septum, though many do not know.
Understanding the Effects of Deviated Septum
Many of the patients who learn they have a deviated septum were most likely born with it, but there are other ways that the cartilage flap can shift or become damaged. Injuries and trauma and botched nasal surgeries can all leave the septum out of alignment.
If you have ever experienced any combination of these issues, your septum may be deviated:
- Breathing trouble through one or both nostrils
- Chronic nasal congestion, typically with one size being more congested than the other
- Recurring sinus infections
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Unexplained headaches
- Facial pain around the nose and sinus cavities
- Postnasal drip
- Loud breathing or snoring when sleeping, possible even sleep apnea
Treating a Deviated Septum
Misaligned nasal cartilage can produce mild, moderate, or even severe symptoms that can be difficult to live with, as seen in the list above. Correcting the septum can help to resolve these issues, usually through a nasal surgery. Rhinoplasty can be used to specifically target the septum alone, sometimes called septoplasty, or to align the septum as part of a larger surgery that addresses cosmetic and other functional issues as well.
How Rhinoplasty Surgery Can Help
To focus on the nasal cartilage, your facial plastic surgeon might suggest a septoplasty surgery, which will only involve adjustments to the septum itself. The surgery can be performed in much the same way as a rhinoplasty, just with a more limited scope of changes. Your surgeon will place incisions as needed to reach the septum and make the necessary adjustments. Size changes can also be made for a septum that is too large or too small to function properly. Other changes can be made to the nose as part of your rhinoplasty procedure, which you can discuss with your facial plastic surgeon during your initial consultation.
Following your rhinoplasty procedure, you will be sent home with bandages, dressings, and possibly splints or nasal supports to keep the septum stable as it heals. Swelling, bruising, and moderate discomfort are all normal side effects that can be managed with tips from your facial plastic surgeon.
Learn More About Septoplasty and the Deviated Septum
To find out how rhinoplasty can help you resolve some of your breathing or sinus problems, speak with an expert who can deliver the results you desire. Consult with a facial plastic surgery to achieve your best results. Dr. Andrew Frankel is board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (Ear Nose and Throat). He is exceptionally well trained in the field of nasal surgery and has been recognized for his original research regarding vasculature to the nose and rhinoplasty’s effect on it. Schedule your appointment today with a world-renowned facial plastic surgeon to guarantee your best rhinoplasty results. Contact Dr. Frankel’s office, located at 201 Lasky Drive in Beverly Hills, California, by calling (310) 552-2173.