The nasal septum is just a wall or partition that is inside the nose dividing the air on the right side of the nose from the air on the left side. Of course the air comes together in the back of the throat and then goes down into the lungs. The septum is not visible from the outside and usually has nothing to do with the appearance of the nose from the outside. The main problem with a deviated septum is that it can cause airway (breathing) obstruction on one or both sides of the nose. It may be surprising thing to know that approximately 80% of the population of the United States has a deviation of their nasal septum. Fortunately, most people do not experience any breathing problems and require no treatment. In cases where the deviation causes breathing problems, a septoplasty can be performed to relieve the obstruction. As mentioned above, a deviated septum usually does not affect the appearance of the nose but there are cases where the deviation causes the nose to be crooked.
What is the nasal septum made of?
The septum is made of cartilage in the front part of the nose and bone in the back part of the nose and is covered with pink nasal lining. If the septum is straight and in the midline, there are no breathing or aesthetic consequences but it the septum is off center or is twisted it can obstruct breathing one on or both sides and can cause the nose to look crooked.
Symptoms of a deviated nasal septum
A person with a deviated nasal septum may have one of the symptoms below:
Also, a person with a deviated nasal septum may experience recurrent sinus infections.
The causes of a deviated septum
The following are the main causes of DNS:
When the nose is broken, sometimes the septum can be injured and result in airway obstruction
Many people are born with a deviated septum.
Some persons from specific ethnicities are more prone to having a deviated nasal septum. For example, there is a higher incidence of deviated nasal septum in Caucasians.
The structure of the nose weakens over time. Sometimes this can result in breathing problems that were not present earlier in life.
Septoplasty, a surgical intervention
The septum can be repaired in conjunction with a rhinoplasty or can be performed is an isolated appearance. The septoplasty surgery usually lasts from 60 to 90 minutes. The procedure involves trimming, repositioning, and straightening of the bone and cartilage that comprises the septum. General anesthesia is required so you will be pain-free and asleep during the surgery.
Many patients choose to undergo a septoplasty in conjunction with a rhinoplasty. As a general rule, your insurance will not help you with the cosmetic portion (rhinoplasty) but may help you with the airway obstruction portion of the procedure (septoplasty).
What to expect post-surgery
Your surgeon may use a dissolvable suture to close the incisions. He may also place splints inside your nose to hold the tissues firmly and in place. These are left in place for a week or two.
Dr. Charles Thorne will advise you on what to expect after the surgery and self-care practices as well. He will also inform you of what to do and avoid when you are at home. He will also prescribe appropriate pain medicines for you to take.
If you think you have a deviated nasal septum and want to have it corrected, consult a surgeon with years of experience. Dr. Charles Thorne, who has over 30 years of experience in performing plastic surgery would be more than glad to answer your questions. So set a consultation with him here.