A deviated septum is a relatively common condition, but what is it exactly? And how to fix a deviated septum?
A deviated septum occurs when the wall between your nasal passages (your septum) is off-center, or deviated, rendering one nasal passage smaller than the other. In severe cases, one side of the nose can be blocked, causing a reduction of airflow, and making it hard to breathe. For some, the condition is worsened by crusting or bleeding inside the nose, especially in dry environments.
If you’re suffering from a nasal blockage as the result of a deviated septum, septoplasty surgery may be required to treat the issue.
How Can You Tell If You Have Septal Deformities?
There’s a chance that you have a deviated septum and don’t know it, because most septal deformities don’t cause symptoms. The ones that do, however, can cause the following symptoms and signs:
The blockage of one or both nostrils, which can, in turn, make breathing through your nose challenging. This is often more noticeable if you have a cold or allergies, which can exacerbate the issue by causing swelling and thus narrowing in your nasal passages.
Excessive dryness of your nasal septum can cause occasional or chronic nosebleeds.
One-sided facial pain may manifest in severe cases where surfaces within your nose touch one another, causing pressure.
The swelling of tissues inside the nose which often accompanies a deviated septum can contribute to noisy breathing while sleeping.
While it’s normal for a nasal blockage to alternate between nostrils, if you’re aware of these switches, it may indicate a deviated septum.
If it becomes necessary for you to sleep on one particular side in order to breathe more freely when lying down, this too is a sign you may have a deviated septum.
How Can Rhinoplasty Fix Difficulty Breathing?
While cosmetic rhinoplasties are common, some opt for what’s known as a functional rhinoplasty instead of a septoplasty to fix their deviated septum. A crooked nose, for instance, can cause difficulty breathing, and since the septum can’t be straightened without also straightening the nose, a functional rhinoplasty may be the solution. In other cases, the septum may be straight, yet the airways are too narrow. In such cases, it is necessary to perform nasal valve surgery (another kind of functional rhinoplasty) in order to add stabilizing grafts. So there are many answers to the question of how to fix a deviated septum!
Septoplasty vs. Rhinoplasty
A surgical procedure called a septoplasty is the usual intervention for a deviated septum. The procedure repositions or removes bone and cartilage from the area between the nostrils to fix alignment or airflow issues. Depending on the case, splints or packing may need to be inserted for stability while healing.
Cosmetic rhinoplasty, on the other hand, is an altogether different surgery aimed at changing the shape and/or size of the nose. While a cosmetic rhinoplasty cannot fix a deviated septum, a septorhinoplasty is the combination of both procedures to improve breathing while also improving the esthetic appearance of your nose!
Dr. Stephen Mulholland has been practicing plastic surgery for over 20 years. He is one of Canada’s most renowned and best plastic surgeons in Toronto with his wealth of experience, artistry, and humbleness towards his patients.