Approximately 80% of the population has nasal septums that are off center yet there is a few percentages who suffers from a severe shift of the nasal septum from the midline referred to as deviated septum.

What is Nasal Septum?

The nasal septum is composed of cartilage that separates the two chambers of the nose. It separates the left and right nostril from one another through its five structures namely the vomer bone, the cartilage of the septum, the perpendicular plate of ethmoid bone, the crest of the palatine bone and the crest of the palatine bone. Nasal septum plays an important role in giving proper shape to the nose.

What is the Importance of Well Aligned Nasal Septum?

It is important for the body to have well aligned nasal septum because this guarantees effective breathing which is important in maintaining different cellular processes of the body. Moreover, proper alignment of the nasal septum also helps prevent nasal discharge problems especially during the occurrence of colds or flu.

What is a Deviated Septum?

Deviated septum is a rare condition wherein the nasal septum becomes severely shifted from the middle. It becomes dispositioned resulting to breathing and nasal discharge problems.

Deviated Nasal Septum Types

Simple Deviations

mild deviation without nasal obstruction.

Obstruction

severe deviation that touches the lateral wall of the nose.

Impaction- severe angulation of the nasal septum with a spur touching the lateral wall of the nose.

Signs of Deviated Septum

Those who experience nasal deviated septum suffer from frequent nasal obstruction and drainage of the sinuses due to repeated sinus infections. It also results to frequent nosebleeds, facial pain, postnasal drip, headaches, noisy breathing during sleep, and nasal congestion but only in one side of the nostrils.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the above mentioned deviated septum symptoms may not be experienced regularly by patients except when the person gets infected with cold or flu virus thus triggering nasal inflammation. Nevertheless, the symptoms of deviated septum will also subside after the ailment is treated.

Nasal Septums

Image by : wikipedia

Most of the reported cases of deviated septum are due to abnormalities upon birth even so injury as well as damage because of previous medical treatments can also result to deviated septum. Those who also complain of repeated sinusitis are also possible suspects for deviated septum thus it is recommended that they visit their doctor so their nasal condition can be properly evaluated.

Clinical Features of a Deviated Nasal Septum

A deviated nasal septum creates functional and complex esthetic problems in the patient. The important clinical features include

Nasal Obstruction

Nasal obstruction is a common problem associated with deviated nasal septum. Obstruction may be on the side of deviation or on both sides due to changes in the turbinates.

Skull of Accipiter Nisus

Image by : wikimedia

Mucosal

Image by : wikimedia

Mucosal Changes

The nasal mucosa becomes dry, ulcerated and often bleed. Some times the swelling around the mucosa over the nasal septum becomes edematous due to Bernoulli’s phenomenon. This swelling further increases the nasal congestion.

Pain

Adjacent sensory nerves may get compressed due to the pressure from deviated nasal septum. This produces pain.

Treatment of Deviated Nasal Septum

There is no medication for deviated septum correction and the only option left for the patient is to undergo septoplasty or the deviated septum operation.

Septoplasty is a type of reconstructive plastic surgery which is performed to properly form the misaligned nasal septum of patients. The entire surgery is performed through the nostrils for the surgeon to either have it the nasal septum entirely removed before it will be reinserted or simply be readjusted with the aid of a few tools.

Where is Septoplasty Performed?

Surgery to fix deviated septum can be performed in a surgeon’s office, outpatient surgery center or hospital either as an outpatient or an inpatient.

How is Deviated Septum Surgery Performed?

The patient is first diagnosed by the doctor to identify the cause of chronic sinusitis and nasal obstruction. Once diagnosed as deviated septum, the physician will schedule him or her for deviated septum operation. Before performing surgery deviated septum, the patient will be given a general anesthesia so he or she will not feel the pain of the entire surgical procedure which will be performed on his or her nostril.

After applying general anesthesia, the surgeon will make a cut through the inside wall of the nose and careful lift up the mucus membrane of the wall. He or she will distinguish the bone or cartilage which is causing the blockage and remove it. If this is not applicable then the surgeon may have the entire cartilage removed before inserting it back this time on its proper place.

Soon, the surgeon will return the mucous membrane back in place and held in place with the aid of splints, stitches and packing material. Once the patient becomes conscious, the surgeon will provide him or her list of guidelines which must be observed while waiting for the entire nose structure to heal

How long does Septoplasty for Deviated Septum Last?

Typically, surgery for deviated septum will last for approximately an hour and a half or so.

What are the possible negative side effects which the patient may experience after fixing a deviated septum?

There will be lot of inconvenience experienced by the patient during the healing process this includes dull headache, swelling around the eyes, bruises around the eyes, small quantity of bleeding during the first few days, and appearance of tiny red spots in the face due to small burst of blood vessels which may have happened during the surgical operation.

Other risks which may affect the social lifestyle of the individual includes breathing complications, infection, bleeding, heart problems and allergic reactions to anesthesia and other medication which may have injected on the patient.

Is Septoplasty Deviated Septum a Guaranteed Treatment?

It is hard to say that septoplasty will indeed result to the treatment of deviated septum because there are certain instances wherein the nasal blockage returns. Moreover, the patient may have to endure a couple of physical changes due to the operation like skin discoloration, fluid build-up in the nose, scarring, perforation in the septum wall and unevenness in the appearance of the nose.

Deviated Nasal Septum Recovery

Recovery after deviated nasal septum nose surgery takes two weeks to one month to completely heal. It is important not to rub or blow nose hardly during the recovery period as this may cause heavy bleeding and swelling. Post operative deviated surgery stage is a very difficult period as most of the nasal activities need to be done through mouth which is extremely difficult while eating food. Follow the instructions in order to fasten healing and prevent infection.

Rhinoplasty for Deviated Septum

Repairing a deviated septum can only solve the medical issues related to the problem. Rhinoplasty performed while correcting deviated septum can solve the esthetic problems too giving a good shape and proportion to the nose.

References

http://www.patscotland.org.uk/medical_appendices/D/DEVIATED%20NASAL%20SEPTUM.pdf

http://www.centralohioearnosethroat.com/files/deviated%20nasal%20septum.pdf

http://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/Vol3Issue01/jpsr%2003110104.pdf

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