Can you imagine living without a nose? No right? It is the front centre of your face. It’s shape and size add to the dimensions and appearance of the face. We know that the nose is essential for breathing but it is not as simple as air in and out. The air that you breathe in is humidified and cleaned for the lungs by the nose, the nose gives tone to your voice, the nose is responsible for the sense of smell which is an important part of memory functions.
No matter the shape and size of the nose, it is an essential part of your identity. However, for some people the simple function of breathing is not so easy because of deviated septum. About 70 to 80 percent people in the world have some degree of deviation in the septum. It requires treatment when it causes nasal obstruction.
What Is A Deviated Septum?
Before we go into the faces of finding the deviated septum treatment options, let us understand what the septum does inside the nose.
The septum is the thin wall that divides the nose in two parts. It is a flexible component of the nose. When for some reason the septum moves to one side it can give a crooked appearance to the nose One nasal passage becomes smaller than the other. This displacement can be one or the both sides. Normal deviation does not cause any issues but when it is severe it can make life difficult because of reduced airflow.
Sometimes the septum can become deviated at several points giving it an S type curvature and more crookedness leading to mild to severe breathing issues. So, the severe nasal congestion that you have been facing and wondering if it is because of allergies or sinus infection, can be because of a deviated septum.
Many people thing that nasal breathing symptoms are because of allergies or a bad sinus but the number one cause of such nasal blockages often turns out to be the deviated septum. Hence a correct deviated nasal septum treatment because very important.
What Causes Deviated Septum?
Some people have a deviated septum by birth. This is often because of before birth development or injury during delivery. Many times, the deviated septum can also be because of bending and deformity because of ageing. Injury is another major cause of deviated septum. The types of injuries including bumping your nose when you are young, contact sports, accidents, rough play etc. Even if there is no fracture, the contact injuries can change the shape of the flexible septum. Injuries can also affect the septum’s future growth especially because of childhood injuries.
Is it possible that I have a deviated septum and not know about it?
Yes, septal issues often go unnoticed unless you are experiencing any symptoms. The most visible symptom of a deviated septum is the difference in the sizes of the nose. or if you look up the nose you can see the uneven nasal passage.
However, since the nasal passages extent to the back of the nose to direct air to the lungs, a deviated septum can occur anywhere on the septum. The best solution to correct a deviated septum and get relief from the symptoms is to consult an ENT specialist.
Symptoms of deviates septum that can necessitate a treatment
The Common Symptoms of a Deviated Septum Are
- Stuffy nose on one or both sides of the nose: Some people can also have two stuffy nostrils at the same time. This kind of congestion normally does not respond to medications and decongestants very well. It worsens if you have a cold or any respiratory tract infection.
- Frequent nosebleeds and infections: Since the crookedness of the septum can lead to mucosal dryness, it increases the frequency and chances of nosebleeds.
- Noisy breathing when sleeping: many people face the issue of whistling sound from the nose when sleeping or their partners feel that the breathing sound is too loud and grating. Snoring and sleep apnea are two major symptoms of deviated septum.
- Nasal cycle awareness: Most of us ae not aware of the breathing cycle but those how have a deviated septum are very aware of their breathing. Normally when be breathe the air goes through one side.
- Dry and crusty nose: The disrupted airflow leads to dehydrated mucous membranes leading to dry and crusty nose and a feeling that there is something inside the nose.
- Tendency to sleep on one side: People prefer to sleep on the side where the passage is not so much blocked rather than the blocked passage side. This helps them optimize their breathing and make sleep comfortable.
- Sinus pain and headache: Deviated septum aggravate the sinus infections. This can cause pain in nose, forehead and eyes. This can also lead to headaches. When the deviation is severe, the displacement can cause the wall of one nostril to press against the other causing constant pressure and discomfort.
- Uneven appearance of the nose
- Poor sense of smell
Do Deviated Septum Cause Ear Problems?
Yes, they can. A tube called the Eustachian tube connect the middle ear to the back of the nose in order to balance the pressure in the ear. The swelling in the nasal passage because of septum deformity can prevent drainage of the tube and sinuses leading to pain, pressure and infections in the ear.
Will The Deviation Of Septum Get Worse With Age?
The nasal structure does change over time and thus it can cause changes in the deviation of septum also. It might get worse and make the symptoms more intense. It can also cause changes in the appearance of your nose.
Deviated nasal septum is not life threatening. It can be easily treated using different deviated nasal septum treatments. However, in young infants it can be a cause of worry and need an immediate treatment. but if you have been suffering from bothersome symptoms then why not get it corrected?
Can Deviated Septum Correct or Heal On Its Own?
No, it does not correct over time. Talk with your rhinoplasty surgeon for the correct solution, don’t waste time in wating for it to correct itself.
Deviated Septum Treatment
The treat begins with a first consultation with your rhinoplasty surgeon. This will help determine the line of treatment whether the issue is mild or severe. Mild issues can sometimes correct with medical intervention, whereas surgical issues need an expert deviated septum surgery. The surgeon will also do a physical evaluation and sometimes x rays to get the correct view of septum.
Medical Deviated Nasal Septum Treatments
Minor deviations that cause mild congestions and breathing issues are often managed symptomatically. The common treatment options include
- Medications to reduce the nasal tissue swelling and easy the breathing.
- Nasal strips to open the nasal valves
- Steroid medications for inflammation
- Antihistamines to treat seasonal and other allergies
- Decongestant sprays
- Sinus rinses
It is important to remember that these are not solution to the problem of deviated septum. These options just help reduce the symptoms and get temporary relief. Septoplasty is done to correct the deviated septum
Deviated septum surgery/Septoplasty/Nose job for deviated septum
Septoplasty is a popular, safe and effective way to correct the deviated septum and restore normal nose function. The deviated septum surgery is an outpatient procedure and can be done in less than an hour. The steps to the deviated nasal septum surgery are
- The patient is put to sleep using anaesthesia
- The surgery can be done using traditional methods or endoscopes. Either way there are no signs outside of the nose that you have surgery done.
- The surgeon will access the septum from inside and do the necessary trimming and straightening and the place it correctly. Once he is satisfied by the position and length of the septum, the will close the incisions.
- In cases where the septum is collapsed or the surgeon does not have enough to work with, he will use a cartilage graft from the patient’s body to reinforce the septum correctly. Grafting can increase the length of the procedure sometimes,
- Once done the patient can go home the same day or the next day barring any complications.
It is important to keep in mind that the deviated nasal septum surgery is not done to change the shape or size of the nose. It is also not a cure for sinus but you will get immediate relief from the symptoms. Nor will the surgeon break any bones or put a cast on the nose.
Hence it is important that you give due time to the recovery of the nose. Rest and sleep with your head elevated till the time the swelling goes down. Also avoid exercising, running and lifting any weights post deviated septum surgery till the time your rhinoplasty surgeon says it is ok to do so. You will notice changes and ease in your breathing when the swelling goes down. Just give your nose about 3-4 weeks to start showing the difference. You will be breathing and sleeping easier. If you are interested in getting some nose reshaping done, then you can ask your surgeon about a rhinoplasty along with deviated nasal septum surgery.