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Do You Need Septoplasty for a Deviated Septum?

Do you find it difficult to breathe throughyour nose?

If you’ve ruled out allergies or a cold andstill have trouble breathing through your nose, the cause could be a deviatedseptum. This condition affects up to 80% of the population to varying degrees,but serious cases could impact your health and quality of life.

What isa deviated septum?

The nasal septum is a firm but flexible wall,covered by skin, that divides the left and right sides of the nose. In aperfect world, the septum would be perfectly centered between both sides of thenose. However, most septums tend to be slightly off-center, and mostindividuals don’t even notice.

In more severe cases, this is referred to as adeviated septum. With a deviated septum, one side of the nose is significantlywider than the other, which can affect air flow in the nose. Sometimes, thenarrower side may become blocked. Although a deviated septum can be presentfrom birth, it may also be caused by injury to the nose, such as a car accidentor a sports injury.

Whatare some symptoms of a deviated septum?

The severity of the deviated septum willaffect the severity of the symptoms. Some common symptoms of a deviated septuminclude:

●  Obstructed nostril; this can makeit difficult to breathe, especially with allergies or a sinus infection

●  Nosebleeds; usually caused byexcessive dryness in the septum

●  Facial pain and chronic sinuspressure

●  Deliberately sleeping on aparticular side; a deviated septum may make breathing easier on one side

●  Noisy breathing while sleeping;this is particularly common in babies and children

●  Snoring

●  Knowing your “nasal cycle”; thenose naturally alternates breathing between nostrils, but it is uncommon forsomeone to be fully aware of this nasal cycle on a daily basis

●  Frequent dry mouth; if you mainlybreathe through your mouth instead of your nose, this can cause chronic drymouth

Shouldyou ask your doctor about a deviated septum?

Most people have an uneven septum that doesnot cause problems. If you experience the above symptoms to a point thataffects your quality of life, you should discuss the issue with your doctor.

Other reasons to talk to your doctor about adeviated septum include:

●  Blocked nostril that does notrespond to treatment

●  Sleep difficulties, includingwaking up suddenly in the middle of the night

●  Frequent sinus infections

If you’re concerned about a possible deviatedseptum, your doctor will consider your symptoms and examine your nose andsinuses. He or she may also refer you to an otolaryngologist, commonly known asan ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.

How doyou treat a deviated septum?

Treatment for a deviated septum depends on theseverity of your condition. In many cases, your doctor may have you start bymanaging your symptoms.

This may include the use of decongestants toreduce swelling in the sinuses and help keep your nasal airways open. If youhave frequent allergy symptoms, antihistamines also can help. Nasalcorticosteroid sprays may reduce inflammation in your nasal passage and helpopen the airways. Some treatments can take a few weeks to be fully effective,so make sure to follow your doctor’s prescriptions and instructions.

Sometimes, additional medication may not benecessary. For example, snoring may be resolved by changing or raising theposition of the bed or mattress. It is important to discuss your symptoms andconcerns thoroughly with your doctor.

Isseptoplasty right for you?

If your deviated septum is severe, or ifsymptom management doesn’t work, you may be a good candidate for septoplasty.This is a form of surgery that corrects a deviated septum. During thisprocedure, the surgeon repositions your nasal septum so that it is straight andpositioned at the center of your nose. Our surgeons have developed a techniqueto repair septal deviations in the office, under sedation, that lets you getback to work the next day!

In some cases, your surgeon may have to cut orremove parts of the septum before they are placed in the proper position. Thesurgeon may also perform rhinoplasty at this time, which reshapes the bone andcartilage in your nose.

Septal problems are often associated withsinus problems and you may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, also known asballoon sinus dilation. This advanced, in-office, minimally invasive option canhelp address sinus problems and recurrent infections. With this procedure, thedoctor uses a tiny balloon to dilate and remodel the opening of the sinus cavity,which can improve sinus ventilation in just minutes. This is normally done atthe same time as septoplasty.

After septoplasty, your nasal breathing shouldbe dramatically better and much more symmetric. If your symptoms are alsorelated to allergies, however, surgery will not entirely cure them.

Needrelief from a deviated septum?

Your sinuses don’t have to impact your qualityof life. Request a consult today to find out more about septal deviations andif you are a candidate for septoplasty.

Chris Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson focuses solely on allergy, sinus and nasal treatment and is considered an expert in all three fields. He is one of a handful of doctors that played an integral role in the development of the cutting-edge sinus procedure, Balloon Sinuplasty.