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Complications of a Deviated Septum

Few things in life are absolutely perfect, which can certainly be said of septums. A septum is the piece of cartilage that divides your nasal passages. In fact, up to 80% of people have some degree of deviation in their septums. While some irregularity isn’t usually a cause for concern, a moderate or severe deviated septum can lead to a host of complications.

As ear, nose, throat, and sinus experts, Cecil Yeung, MD and Marcus Hershey, MD here at Houston Sinus Surgery are all too familiar with the many problems that can crop up because of a septum that’s crooked or off-center.

In this blog, we review some of the more common complications that can stem from a deviated septum.

Difficulty breathing

The most common complication of a deviated septum is difficulty breathing. A misalignment in your nasal passages can make breathing in and out more difficult, especially if you’re also dealing with nasal congestion.

Prone to congestion

Speaking of nasal congestion, people with moderate-to-severe deviated septums are more prone to sinus and nasal congestion. This can occur because if air doesn’t flow freely through your nose and sinuses, this can allow mucus to build up. Furthermore, this can allow an infection to take hold.


If you have congestion in your nasal passages and sinuses, this pressure can build and lead to headaches.


If air isn’t flowing freely through your nasal passages, they may dry out, which could lead to nosebleeds.


People with deviated septums are far more likely to snore because of the congestion. Congestion is often worse at night when lying down. Snoring can disrupt sleep and lead to daytime fatigue.

Treating a deviated septum

If you’re experiencing any of the complications above, there are a number of options we can try. Conservative options would include steroids, decongestants, and antihistamines. However, these treatments are stop-gap measures and won’t help with long-term relief.

If you want to correct your deviated septum once and for all, Dr. Yeung has extensive experience performing septoplasties, a procedure in which he realigns the piece of cartilage in your nose to help you breathe easier. 

In most cases, he can perform this surgery using your natural openings, and he doesn’t alter the bone structure in your nose. For a septoplasty, recovery is quick — usually about a week — and you’ll be rewarded with well-functioning nasal passages.

If you have a deviated septum or want to see if you do, Dr. Yeung can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss treatment options if needed. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Houston Sinus Surgery today.

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