The section of bone and cartilage that separates the nasal cavity is called the septum. When the septum is off-center, it is said to be deviated. While in most cases a deviated septum does not cause any problems, in severe cases, it can result in complications. If this is the case, surgery may be necessary.
Causes of a Deviated Septum
Some potential causes of a deviated septum include:
- Congenital abnormalities (present at birth).
- Birth complications.
- Connective tissue disease.
- Changes during growth.
- Sports injuries.
- Car accidents.
- Other trauma to the nose.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
In addition to the physical appearance of a deviated septum, symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Noisy breathing.
- Nasal congestion.
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).
- Sleep apnea.
Diagnosing a Deviated Septum
In order to diagnose a deviated septum, an ENT physician at Blue Ridge ENT will perform a physical exam of both the inside and outside of your nose and ask you questions about your symptoms.
Treating a Deviated Septum
As stated previously, if a deviated septum doesn’t cause severe symptoms, no treatment may be necessary. However, if you experience complications, your ENT physician may recommend treatment. The treatment for a deviated septum is a surgical procedure called a septoplasty.
There are three main steps for a septoplasty:
- Anesthesia. The first step is that your physician will administer either local or general anesthesia so that you’re comfortable during the procedure.
- Repair. The next steps are for your physician to separate the membrane that covers the septum, remove any bone and cartilage that is deviated, replace the membrane and stitch it back together.
- Bandaging. Finally, your physician will pack the nose with gauze and apply bandages to the outside.
Recovering from Septoplasty
Septoplasty is an outpatient procedure, which means you should be able to go home the same day, as long as there are no complications. You may experience bruising, swelling and soreness for several weeks, as well as discomfort when breathing through the nose. You’ll need to take medications to manage pain and to prevent infection, which can be picked up at Boones Pharmacy. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Blue Ridge ENT today.