Deviated Septum Treatment

In Denver and Lone Tree, Colorado

The shape of your nasal cavity could be the cause of chronic sinusitisThe nasal septum is the wall dividing the nasal cavity into halvesit is composed of a central supporting skeleton covered on each side by mucous membraneThe front portion of this natural partition is a firm but bendable structure made mostly of cartilage and is covered by skin that has a substantial supply of blood vesselsThe ideal nasal septum is exactly midlineseparating the left and right sides of the nose into passageways of equal size.

What is a Deviated Septum?

Estimates are that 80 percent of all nasal septums are off-centera condition that is generally not noticedA “deviated septum” occurs when the septum is severely shifted away from the midlineThe most common symptom from a badly deviated or crooked septum is difficulty breathing through the noseThe symptoms are usually worse on one sideand sometimes actually occur on the side opposite the bendIn some cases the crooked septum can interfere with the drainage of the sinusesresulting in repeated sinus infections.

Septoplasty is the preferred surgical treatment to correct a deviated septumThis procedure is not generally performed on minors because the cartilaginous septum grows until around age 18Septal deviations commonly occur due to nasal trauma.

A deviated septum may cause one or more of the following:

  • Blockage of one or both nostrils.
  • Nasal congestionsometimes one-sided.
  • Frequent nosebleeds.
  • Frequent sinus infections.
  • At timesfacial painheadachesand/or postnasal drip.
  • Noisy breathing during sleep (in infants and young children).

In some casesa person with a mildly deviated septum has symptoms only when he or she also has a “cold” (an upper respiratory tract infection)In these individualsthe respiratory infection triggers nasal inflammation that temporarily amplifies any mild airflow problems related to the deviated septumOnce the “cold” resolvesand the nasal inflammation subsidessymptoms of a deviated septum often resolvetoo.

Deviated Septum Diagnosis

Patients with chronic sinusitis often have nasal congestionand many have nasal septal deviationsHoweverfor those with this debilitating conditionthere may be additional reasons for the nasal airway obstructionThe problem may result from a septal deviationreactive edema (swelling) from the infected areasallergic problemsmucosal hypertrophy (increase in size)other anatomic abnormalitiesor combinations thereofOne of our trained specialists in diagnosing and treating earnoseand throat disorders can determine the cause of your chronic sinusitis and nasal obstruction.

Your First Visit: After discussing your symptomsour physician will inquire if you have ever incurred severe trauma to your nose and if you have had previous nasal surgeryNextan examination of the general appearance of your nose will occurincluding the position of your nasal septumThis will entail the use of a bright light and a nasal speculum (an instrument that gently spreads open your nostril) to inspect the inside surface of each nostril.

Surgery may be the recommended treatment if the deviated septum is causing troublesome nosebleeds or recurrent sinus infectionsAdditional testing may be required in some circumstances.

What is a Septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed entirely through the nostrilsaccordinglyno bruising or external signs occurThe surgery might be combined with a rhinoplastyin which case the external appearance of the nose is altered and swelling/bruising of the face is evidentSeptoplasty may also be combined with sinus surgery.

The time required for the operation averages about one to one and a half hoursdepending on the deviationIt can be done with a local or a general anestheticand is usually done on an outpatient basisAfter the surgerynasal packing is inserted to prevent excessive postoperative bleedingDuring the surgerybadly deviated portions of the septum may be removed entirely or they may be readjusted and reinserted into the nose.

If a deviated nasal septum is the sole cause for your chronic sinusitisrelief from this severe disorder will be achieved.