What is a Nasal septum?
The nasal septum is the dividing wall of cartilage and bone that splits the nasal cavity into the right and left nostrils.
What are the parts of a nasal septum?
The nasal septum is made up of bone and fleshy cartilage which should idealy run right through the middle of the nose.
Deviated Nasal Septum : Overview
Deviated nasal septum definition: A nasal septum that is displaced to one side and is bent off centre.
A deviated nasal septum causes bigger health problems if it is not identified and treated on time. You might not even know if you have a deviated septum, because the symptoms are not always apparent. Itis therefore highly recommended to understand the signs and symptoms beforehand, to identify the causes and treatment options.
What is a deviated nasal septum?
The nasal septum is usually in the centre of the nasal cavity. However, when this septum deviates to one side or is displaced off-centre, it is called a deviated septum.
A deviated nasal septum makes one nasal passage or nostril smaller than the other. In severe cases of deviation, it can obstruct the nasal pathway, inhibiting airflow and cause difficulty in breathing.
Signs and symptoms of a deviated nasal septum
The symptoms of a nasal septum deviation might include some or all of the following:
- Blockage of one or both nostrils
- Difficulty in breathing
- Severe colds or allergies due to swelling of nose tissues
- Facial pain
- Noisy or uncomfortable breathing, particularly during sleep
- Difficulty sleeping on one side due to the narrow nasal passage
- Nasal congestion
- Sinusitis due to swelling and inflammation of the sinuses
- Sleep apnea due to obstruction of the nasal airway
- Change in the shape of the nose
Causes of a deviated nasal septum
A nasal septum deviation can be caused by:
A congenital condition:
It can be a congenital condition present at birth that occurs during the development of the foetus in the womb or due to a difficult birth.
Injury or accident:
A nasal septum deviation can be the outcome of an accident, fall, or any traumatic injury that displaces the septum.
A deviated septum may develop naturally during growth. This happens if the septum grows towards one side.
Based on the way that it develops, the deviated nasal septum types are as follows:
- Congenital: A congenital deviated nasal septum is a condition that a person is born with. This might occur in the embryonic stage or due to various complications during the actual process of child birth.
- Acquired: An acquired deviated nasal septum is a condition that a person develops due to injury, accident, or in the course of the natural development of the septum, as described above.
Diagnosis of a deviated septum
When diagnosing a nasal septum deviation, your ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist will ask questions about your symptoms. The ENT will also examine the outside and inside of your nose.
To examine the internal nasal cavity, the physician may use an instrument to widen your nostrils and check it with a bright light. This will help them diagnose your deviated nasal septum condition, understand the underlying conditions and what are the necessary steps required to rectify the same.
Treatment for a deviated septum
Treatment for a deviated nasal septum includes:
- Decongestants: Medications that reduce the swelling and congestion in nasal tissue and keep the nasal airways open. These may be in the form of a tablet or a nasal spray.
- Antihistamines: These help mitigate allergy symptoms of the deviated nasal septum, such as a streaming nose.
However, keep in mind that the medications will only manage the symptoms and will not correct the deviation itself.
If you would like to correct the deviated septum, a surgery called septoplasty is advised. Correcting it through surgery is particularly helpful if you are facing breathing problems, recurrent sinus infections, or other symptoms that bother you often.
When considering septoplasty for deviated nasal septum treatment, the ENT specialist will consider various factors such as:
- The nature of the deviated nasal septum, the extent of deviation
- Your age
- Your health and any health conditions you may have
- Any previous surgeries you may have undergone
- The severity of your symptoms
A septoplasty procedure corrects the deviated nasal septum by repositioning it in the centre of the nose.
During the septoplasty procedure, your surgeon puts you under local or general anesthesia to minimise any pain or discomfort.
The procedure involves trimming and replacing the cartilage or bone of the septum. Our surgeon does this through small incisions inside your nose. The incisions are then closed with surgical stitches called sutures.
Prevention of a deviated septum
A congenital deviated nasal septum cannot be prevented as it is a condition you are born with. An acquired deviation can be managed with appropriate treatment.
An acquired deviated septum can be prevented with extra protection against injury. Protection measures could include wearing a face guard during contact sports, driving safely with the seat belt fastened, and wearing a helmet when driving a two-wheeler.
If you have a deviated nasal septum, you can prevent serious symptoms by getting tested for allergies, avoiding allergy triggers, and taking medication. You can also consider different measures to reduce nasal congestion.
A deviated nasal septum is a common condition that is fully treatable by surgery. If you have it or if you think you might have it, stay mindful of the symptoms and reach out to an ENT specialist.
While the symptoms can be managed to some extent, corrective action is advised by our ENT specialist. It is particularly recommended if the symptoms persist or if you experience difficult symptoms like breathing issues.
To get your deviated nasal septum checked and get the best corrective surgery, reach out to our ENT specialist Dr Vijay Verma or book an appointment with Dr Vijay Verma.