What is a Deviated Septum and How to Treat it?
A deviated septum occurs when the septum, the cartilage and bone that separates the nasal cavity, is off-center. Some people are born with a deviated septum. For others, a nose injury causes it. A badly deviated septum may cause breathing problems, congestion and headaches. Surgery can repair a deviated septum.
What is a deviated septum?
The nasal septum is the cartilage and bone in your nose. The septum divides the nasal cavity (inside your nose) into a right and left side. When the septum is off-center or leans to one side of the nasal cavity, it has “deviated.” Healthcare providers call this a deviated nasal septum.
What happens if I have a deviated septum?
If you have a minor deviated septum, you may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. If your deviated septum is more severe, it may affect your breathing, cause headaches or lead to infections.
What causes a deviated septum?
An injury to the nose can cause a deviated septum. Nasal injuries may occur due to:
- Car accidents.
- Getting hit in the nose during an accident or fight.
A deviated septum may also be congenital, or present at birth. The deviation may be from a difficult birth or connective tissue disease.
It may also be a result of normal development. As the nose grows, the septum also grows and can sometimes grow towards one side. This is typically the most common reason to have a deviated septum.
What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
People with a severely deviated septum may have a change in the shape of their nose.
Other deviated septum symptoms include:
Difficulty breathing on one or both sides of the nose.
- Headaches or face pain.
- Nasal congestion.
- Noisy breathing.
- Sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).
- Sleep apnea.
How is a deviated septum treated?
Most people don’t need deviated septum treatment because they have no symptoms or their symptoms are mild.
Treatment for a deviated septum is a surgery called a septoplasty. If you have breathing problems, frequent sinus infections or other bothersome symptoms, a septoplasty may be an option for you.
Who is a good candidate for a septoplasty?
If your deviated septum symptoms are severe, you may be a candidate for a septoplasty. To decide what’s best, your healthcare provider will evaluate your:
- Risk factors.
- Pre-existing conditions.
- Previous surgeries.
- Alcohol, drug and tobacco use.