Deviated Septum (cont.)
In this Article
- What is a deviated septum?
- What causes a deviated septum?
- What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
- What is the treatment for deviated septums?
- Surgery for Deviated Septum
- What are the risks of a deviated septum?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Deviated Septum Treatments
Sometimes symptoms can be relieved with medications. If medicine alone doesn't offer adequate relief, a surgical procedure called septoplasty may be needed to repair a crooked septum and improve breathing.
Deviated Septum Surgery
During septoplasty, a surgeon, working through the inside of the nose, makes a small incision in the septum and then removes the excess bone or cartilage required to even out the breathing space of the nostrils.
Sometimes a rhinoplasty, or "nose job," is combined with septoplasty to improve the appearance of the nose. This procedure is called septorhinoplasty. Septoplasty may also be combined with sinus surgery.
Surgery to repair a deviated septum is usually performed in an outpatient setting under local or general anesthesia and takes about one to one and a half hours, depending on the amount of work being done. You should be able to go home three to four hours after surgery.
Internal splints or soft packing material may be put in the nose to stabilize the septum as it heals. If a septoplasty is the only procedure performed, there should be little to no swelling or bruising after surgery. However, if a septorhinoplasty is performed, a week or two of swelling and bruising is normal following the procedure.
If possible, it is best to wait until after the nose has stopped growing, around age 15, to have surgery.
Deviated Septum Surgery Risks
No surgery is completely risk-free and the benefits from undergoing surgery -- in this case, being able to breathe better -- must outweigh the risks. Septoplasty and septorhinoplasty are common and safe procedures and the chance of having a dangerous side effect is rare. Still, talk with your doctor about the possible risks of surgery before you make a treatment decision.
Although rare, risks of septoplasty and/or rhinoplasty may include:
- hole (perforation) of the septum
- loss of the ability to smell
If you are having nasal symptoms and think you may have a deviated septum, make an appointment to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor, or ENT. There are a number of reasons why you may be experiencing these symptoms, including chronic sinusitis or nasal allergies. Make sure you get the right diagnosis so that you can get the treatment you need.
WebMD Medical Reference
American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Fact Sheet: Deviated Septum," "Nose Surgery."
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: "Deviated Septum."
American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: "Surgery of the Nose."
American Rhinologic Society: "Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction."
American Sleep Apnea Association: "Sleep Apnea Information."
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on July 13, 2010
Last Editorial Review: 7/13/2010
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