A deviated septum occurs when the bone and cartilage that divide your nasal cavity are bent or angled. Everyone will have some amount of bend or deviation, even after surgery. Not all septal deviations require treatment; however, a severe deviation can contribute to allergies, sleep apnea, snoring, sinus infections and decreased aerobic abilities.
There are various medical and surgical options for your nasal obstruction.
What Causes a Deviated Septum?
Most often, a deviated septum is a condition that occurs during birth or fetal development. In other cases, trauma or injury to the nose causes the displacement. This is frequently the result of a sports injury or automobile accident. Occasionally, cartilage in the nasal tip deteriorates as we age, producing a deviated septum.
What Are the Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?
The perfect nasal septum divides the left and right nostrils evenly, but this is pretty rare; it’s estimated that about 80 percent of the population has a septum that is off center to some extent. Usually the deviation is slight and goes unnoticed; only the worst cases produce symptoms that affect breathing.
Symptoms include nasal congestion (often limited to one side of the nose), frequent nosebleeds and sinus infections, facial pain and pressure, headaches, postnasal drip, and noisy breathing or snoring during sleep.
How Is a Deviated Septum Treated?
If the deviated septum isn’t too severe, symptoms may respond to treatment with medications. Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal steroid sprays can reduce congestion and inflammation in some patients.
When medicines are ineffective, a surgical procedure known as a septoplasty may be necessary to reposition a crooked septum and improve breathing.
Nasal septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. The surgeon is able to reposition the septum by straightening the bent cartilage and bone; this helps relieve the symptoms associated with a deviated septum, which include breathing difficulties, nosebleeds, snoring, sleep apnea and sinusitis.
Call Camino Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic at (408) 227-6300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.