A septum is deviated if it is crooked or bent instead of straight. With a deviated septum, one or both chambers of the nose may be blocked and breathing problems may occur. A deviated septum can occur because of an injury, but it can also grow naturally.
What is septal deviation?
Normally, the dividing wall between the nostrils is straight. If it is displaced to the left or right, you have a deviated septum. Because the wall is not straight, one nostril is narrower than the other, and this leads to breathing difficulties, especially if the deviated septum is severe.
Main causes of deviated septum
Many people who suffer from deviated septum were born with it.
In others, however, it can occur throughout life due to injuries to the nose. These injuries can be caused by contact sports or accidents.
Also, as you get older, the structure of your nose may change. If you already have a deviated septum, but it is not causing you any great discomfort, there is a chance that it may get worse.
Also, if you suffer from inflammation of the nose due to rhinitis or rhinosinusitis, then your nostrils may narrow further and nasal obstruction may occur, causing you problems with breathing.
Complications caused by deviated septum
If the deviated septum leads to nasal obstruction, various problems can occur:
- Feeling of pressure or congestion (stuffiness) in the nostrils;
- Dry mouth because you can’t breathe through your nose;
- Sleep disturbances caused by difficulty breathing.
What are the symptoms of deviated septum
In most cases, deviated septum has no symptoms, especially if it is a mild form, and your quality of life is not affected. But in the case of a serious deviated septum, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath (made worse by a cold or allergies)
- Dry feeling in the nostrils
- Noisy breathing or snoring during sleep
- Stuffy nose
- Sinus infections
Also, if you feel that you can only breathe well in certain positions during sleep, it may be a symptom of deviated septum.
Of course, there are situations where one of your nostrils becomes blocked, but this is a normal process (called a nasal cycle) and should not normally cause you discomfort. If you notice it happening frequently and it is bothersome, you may have nasal obstruction.
Depending on the severity of the deviated septum, you may experience facial pain, frequent nosebleeds, and frequent infected sinuses.
How is deviated septum diagnosed?
To diagnose deviated septum, your doctor will study your medical history to determine what your specific symptoms are. After that, your doctor will perform a rhinoscopy, which means he or she will examine your nostrils with a nasal speculum to determine what the position of your nasal septum is and what impact it has on the size of your nostrils.
Treatment for deviated septum
Most of the time, if the deviated septum does not cause discomfort and does not affect quality of life, it does not require treatment. But if you do have symptoms, your doctor may recommend various medicines such as:
- Decongestants (pills or spray) – to reduce inflammation in the nasal tissue and ease breathing.
- Antihistamines – to prevent allergy symptoms
- Corticosteroid nasal spray – helps to reduce inflammation and drain (drain substances) from the nose.
You should bear in mind, however, that taking these medicines on your doctor’s advice are intended to relieve your symptoms but do not correct the deviated septum.
Septoplasty or septal deviation surgery
If the symptoms of a deviated septum do not improve after treatment, your doctor will suggest that you opt for septoplasty (septal defect surgery), especially if you experience symptoms that affect your quality of life (sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue).
Preparing for septoplasty
It is recommended that you do not take anti-inflammatory (inflammation-reducing) drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen for at least two weeks before your septal defect surgery. It is advisable not to take such medicines for the same period of time after the operation either.
These medicines may increase the risk of bleeding.
It is also advisable to avoid smoking so that the operation goes smoothly.
What happens during the operation for deviated septum?
Your doctor will give you a local or general anesthetic and then, during the procedure, will straighten and reposition your nasal septum so that it is in the center of your nose.
It is often necessary for some cartilage or bone to be removed so that your doctor can position your nasal septum correctly. He or she may also opt to insert silicone splints to support the septum.
Septoplasty takes about an hour and a half. Sometimes, the deviated septum operation may also be accompanied by rhinoplasty (nose reshaping).
Your doctor will recommend that you stay in hospital for a day or two to monitor you and make sure there are no complications.
Is there a possibility of complications with septoplasty?
As it is a surgical operation, there is a possibility of some complications such as:
- Changes in the appearance of the nose.
- Excessive bleeding.
- Persistence of problems.
- Decreased olfaction.
- Temporary numbness in the upper part of the oral cavity.
- Septal hematoma (blood cluster, cyst).
However, complications are rarely encountered, septoplasty being a safe procedure for most people suffering from deviated septum.
How long does it take to recover from septoplasty?
The recovery process varies from person to person and can take between four and six weeks. Also, the septum does not become completely stable until three to six months after surgery.
During recovery, your doctor will recommend that you take medication to reduce the risk of infection and to ease discomfort.
It is also advisable not to blow your nose, keep your head as high as possible when sleeping, avoid strenuous exercise and take care not to bump your nose after your deviated septum surgery.
Also, for a week after septoplasty it is recommended to rest in bed, not to do physical exercise and to sleep in a space free from dust and noxious substances to avoid nosebleeds.
Why choose VenArt Clinic for a deviated septum surgery?
If you have noticed symptoms specific to deviated septum, you can confidently call VenArt doctors to accurately diagnose you.
At VenArt Clinic, we are experts in septoplasty, with our doctors having decades of experience and specializing in renowned clinics in Europe and the US.
Our doctors will tell you which option is best for you and whether you need to have a septal deviation operation or whether drug treatment is sufficient to relieve your symptoms.
If you would like a consultation, don’t hesitate to contact us.