A deviated septum is when the nasal septum that separates the 2 nostrils is not centred. The septum is a thin wall made up of tissue and oftentimes, people that have a deviated septum are unaware of it.
The nasal septum consists of rigid bone and cartilage. The top of the nose is made up of rigid bone and the tip of cartilage. When the nasal septum is off centre; shifted to either the right of left it restricts the persons air flow along with the flow of mucous from the sinuses. When the septum is deviated, it blocks and hinders the flow of sinus secretions out the nose and this can lead to infections. People that have a deviated septum together with allergies are more as risk for infection since their nasal passages are already swollen and blocked. People with allergies also tend to suffer with chronic sinusitis which can be worsened by a deviated septum.
A deviated septum can stop a person from having a normal life as their breathing is compromised. The most aggressive treatment for a deviated septum is surgery. In surgery the septum is broken and then re-placed in the correct position. A lot of people resort to temporary fixes such as decongestants and nasal sprays. However, these can only be used for a short period of time as long-term use can bring on other side effects. Saline drops can also be used for a short time as well as having nasal lavage treatment. These solutions treat and soothe the symptoms of a deviated septum but they do not remedy the source of the problem. A procedure that can be done as an alternative to surgery is known as a Nasospecific. In this procedure, a small devise much like a balloon is placed into the nostril and inflated. This procedure attempts to realign the septum without surgery at a fraction of the price.
When faced with a deviated septum, the only treatment that will permanently remedy the problem is surgery. Undergoing surgery to correct the problem with give the best benefits with relatively no risk involved. Treating the source of the problem is essential since left untreated, the obstruction will lead to more recurrent infections which are painful and can lead to further complications.
A deviated septum could be the result of facial trauma or it could be that way at birth. When the septum is badly deviated it can lead to nasal congestion, recurring sinus infections, postnatal drip, facial pain, noisy breathing and headaches. The surgery used to correct this deviation is known as septoplasty. There is no medication that can cure a deviated septum so surgery is required if it is causing complications and effecting your life. This surgery can be done by a plastic surgeon or ENT.
Septoplasty is done inside the nostrils so there are no physical signs of the operation such as bruising after the fact. The septoplasty procedure is normally performed by way of an endonasal incision which is an incision made inside the nose. During the surgery, the surgeon will use an endoscopy to see the septum and evaluate what must be done. In this manner, he can minimize the bleeding and inflammation. In the operation the part of the septum that is crooked is removed. In some cases, the septum can be straightened or replaced depending on the circumstances.
After the septum has been corrected, the incision is sewn together with stitches that dissolve. Once the septum has been repaired, the surgeon will pack the nose to try and stop excessive bleeding after the operation. A splint is applied for the first week of recovery to support the septum as it heals. The recovery process is relatively painless and some patients start breathing easier as soon as the operation is over.