A deviated septum occurs when the thin wall of bone and cartilage (called the septum) that normally separates your nose into two equally sized nostrils is moved to one side.
Some people are born with a deviated septum, but it can also be caused by an injury to the nose. It may have occurred so long ago that you don’t even remember the incident, and it may have not seemed serious at all when it happened.
In some cases, people who have a deviated septum have one nasal passage that’s much smaller than the other. This can make it difficult to breathe through your nose and may also lead to crusting or bleeding in some cases.
In this blog, Houston otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) Dr. Cecil Yeung will explain what you can expect when undergoing surgery to correct a deviated septum.
What causes a deviated septum?
A deviated septum can result from a number of possible causes, including the following:
- A deviation that occurs during fetal development, so it’s present at birth
- A nose fracture
- A trauma or injury to the nose, which can happen to adults, children, or even as a baby is being born.
- As a result of the normal aging process, which can cause changes to nasal structures. Aging can also cause a septum that’s already deviated to worsen.
What are the signs of a deviated septum?
A crooked septum can cause symptoms and related conditions that may include:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Nasal congestion that’s often worse on one side of the nose
- Facial pain, especially on only one side
- Chronic sinus infections (chronic sinusitis)
- Post-nasal drip (awareness of mucus dripping down the back of your throat)
- Sleep issues such as snoring and sleep apnea
- Nasal deformity
What are the treatments used for a deviated septum?
For some patients, non-invasive options such as medication can help alleviate symptoms associated with a deviated septum. These may include decongestants, antihistamines, or nasal sprays, which won’t correct the problem but may be effective at managing symptoms.
However, in some cases, medicine may not provide enough relief. In other cases, such as with decongestants, they may cause a rebound effect and actually make symptoms worse if they’re used for too long. They can also cause side effects such as increasing your blood pressure, and antihistamines may cause drowsiness.
When medication isn’t successful or is causing troublesome side effects, a procedure called a septoplasty may be recommended.
What can I expect when undergoing deviated septum surgery?
A septoplasty is a surgical procedure to straighten the septum and create two equally sized nostrils. Rather than addressing the symptoms caused by a deviated septum, it corrects the problem itself, thus offering long-term relief from symptoms.
Septoplasty is an outpatient procedure that doesn’t require any cutting through the skin, since it’s performed entirely through the nostrils. As a result, you won’t have bruising or swelling on the outside of your nose. And since no nasal bones need to be broken during surgery, there’s no need for the surgeon to use packing in your nose.
Most patients are able to return to work and their normal activities within five to seven days.
Where can I find deviated septum surgery in the Houston area?
As a double board-certified Houston ENT and facial plastic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience in providing deviated septum treatment. Dr. Cecil Yeung is one of the leading providers of deviated septum surgery in the region.
With an accredited, state-of-the-art surgery facility located on the premises, Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute, patients can enjoy the ease and convenience of having the entire course of their treatment – from their initial consultation to the day of their deviated septum surgery – from the same private office.
Schedule an appointment today if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a deviated septum. Dr. Yeung will recommend the treatment option that will be the best for your particular condition and symptoms and help you achieve the most long-lasting effective relief possible.