A deviated septum can sometimes cause ongoing breathing issues as well as other symptoms, and in some cases, surgery may be recommended.
In this blog, Dr. Cecil Yeung, a top Houston ear, nose, and throat doctor and deviated septum surgeon, explains when surgery for a deviated septum may be recommended.
What is a deviated septum?
The septum is a thin wall of bone and cartilage that divides your nasal passages. In many people, it’s somewhat deviated, which makes one nasal passage smaller than the other. You probably won’t be aware of a slight deviation.
If you have a severely deviated septum, however, it can cause annoying symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?
A severely deviated septum can cause some of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing due to reduced airflow through one side of your nose
- Nasal obstruction
- Facial pain
- Headache (including migraine)
- Postnasal drip (the noticeable sensation of mucus dripping down the back of your throat)
- Nasal deformity
- Noisy breathing during sleep
- Snoring and sleep apnea
- Awareness of the nasal cycle (an awareness of the normal cycle of the nose that can obstruct one side and then the other)
When is surgery for deviated septum recommended?
Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays can sometimes help relieve the symptoms of nasal congestion by shrinking the surrounding soft tissue structures, although they can’t correct the underlying issue.
When medicine doesn’t adequately relieve your symptoms, a surgical procedure called a septoplasty may be needed to correct your deviated septum and provide relief from your symptoms. Often the surrounding structures, inferior turbinates also need to be modified for a proper balanced nasal airway between the two sides.
What is involved with a surgery for deviated septum?
You’ll receive general or local anesthesia to help ensure that you’ll be comfortable during surgery.
Your surgeon will then make a small incision on the inside of your nose, so no outside skin will need to be cut, and you won’t have bruising or swelling on the outside of your nose.
The bone or cartilage in your septum will be trimmed, repositioned, and replaced, and sutures will be used to close the incision. Your surgeon may also place packing, soft splints, or sutures to ensure that your septum will be adequately supported as it heals.
After surgery for deviated septum, you’ll be monitored as your anesthesia wears off, and you should be able to return home the same day. Most patients who have this type of surgery are able to return to work and their regular activities within 5-7 days.
If you have difficulty breathing, schedule an evaluation today with Dr. Yeung at the Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute. He can determine the cause of your symptoms and discuss your treatment options with you. Contact us today!