A deviated septum is a condition in which the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half (nasal septum) is significantly off center or not straight, making breathing difficult. In some cases, the problem is not significant enough to cause any symptoms. In other cases, symptoms such as difficulty breathing through the nose, ongoing nasal congestion, recurrent sinus infections, nosebleeds or sleep problems (snoring and/or sleep apnea) make treatment necessary.
A deviated septum can be caused by injury or trauma to the nose. This commonly occurs with sports-related activities.
In other cases, a deviated septum is present at birth. In some cases, a deviated septum can be relieved with medications. However, if this does not work, surgery may be indicated.
The surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum is called a septoplasty. This procedure can be used to correct airway obstructions caused by a deviated septum to make breathing easier. Septoplasty surgery usually takes from between one and two hours and is performed under a local or general anesthetic. In some cases, septoplasty may be covered under medical insurance.
In many cases, patients will combine septoplasty surgery with rhinoplasty: a cosmetic procedure that is used to enhance the appearance of the nose. This could involve reducing a bump on the nose, reducing the size of the tip of the nose or using a nasal implant to change the shape of the nose. By combining these procedures, a plastic surgeon can correct a deviated septum and also enhance the appearance of the nose during the same appointment. This is a benefit since patients only have to pay for operating room time and undergo anesthesia one time.
If you have difficulty breathing or are snoring heavily, this may be a sign that you have a deviated septum. If left untreated, this can prevent you from getting quality sleep at night and also lead to more serious health problems. Talk to a qualified, board-certified plastic and/or reconstructive surgeon in your local area to see if septoplasty is right for you.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones, Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists, P.C.
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