Ear, Nose, Throat, & Allergy

What is a deviated septum?

The nasal septum is a structure partially composed of bone and cartilage which divides the right and left nasal passages. When the septum is shifted or “deviated,” it can lead to a variety of symptoms including nasal blockage, congestion, bloody noses (epistaxis), snoring and also be a trigger for sinus problems. Deviated nasal septum’s can occur for many reasons, the most common being related to trauma. Many times people are born with a deviated septum and may not notice the symptoms until later in life. A deviated nasal septum may be seen in conjunction with deformities of the nasal bones (nasal fracture), but many times a deviated septum is not visible to the naked eye. A deviated septum may be detected on imaging such as an Xray or CAT scan, but it may be best evaluated by a simple painless in office examination called a nasal endoscopy ,usually done by an Ear Nose Throat Specialist. Although there is no specific medical treatment for a nasal septum deviation, many specialists will use various medications to treat co-existing conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as environmental allergies and chronic sinusitis (inflammation). If symptoms are significant enough, a routine surgical procedure may be considered , which is known as a septoplasty. When performing a septoplasty,  the crooked cartilage and bony is straightened to improve nasal breathing and reduce other symptoms.  This outpatient surgical procedure has a high success rate with minimal recovery and discomfort.  A septoplasty may be performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures, such as sinus surgery, balloon sinus dilation, nasal fracture repair and also rhinoplasty (cosmetic refinement of the external nasal structures).
Opinions expressed here are those of myself, Dr. Daryl Colden. They are not intended as medical advice and cannot substitute for the advice of your personal physician.