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Deviated Septum


Disease: Deviated Septum Deviated Septum
Category: Ear, nose, larynx diseases

Disease Definition:

Nasal septum is the thin wall inside the nose that separates the right and left nasal cavities. It is located in the center of the nose, setting apart the two sides of the nose equally. Almost 80% of people have their septum displaced to one side resulting in a smaller nasal passage than the other side. A person has a deviated septum in case his/her septum is significantly off-center. One side of the nose may be blocked and the airflow reduced in case the deviated septum is severe, resulting in frequent sinus infections, difficulty breathing, nosebleeds and nasal congestion. Whether present at birth or as the outcome of an injury, deviated septum treatment may include medications to control signs and symptoms. However, surgery is necessary to correct the deviated septum.

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Symptoms, Causes


A person may not experience any signs or symptoms and they may not even know that they have a deviated septum in case it is minor. On the other hand, some of the following signs and symptoms may be caused in case the deviation is severe:


Nasal congestion:

Postnasal drip is a common result of nasal congestion. When the mucus is blocked from flowing out of the nose, postnasal drip occurs, causing the mucus to drip into and linger in the back of the throat.


Obstruction of one or both nostrils:

Breathing through the nostril or nostrils will be difficult due to this obstruction. When someone has a condition that causes their nasal passages to swell and narrow such as an upper respiratory tract infection (cold) or allergies, this problem will be more noticeable.


Noisy breathing during sleep:

Young children with deviated septums experience this symptom more commonly.



A person’s risk of nosebleeds may increase in case the surface of their nasal septum becomes dry.


Frequent or recurring sinus infections:

Blocked mucus can lead to sinus infections which are mostly marked by facial pain and headache.


If a person’s nasal septum is displaced to one side, it means that they have a deviated septum. Sometimes, when the deviated septum occurs during fetal development, it will be apparent at birth.


As a result of an injury to the nose, the septum can be displaced or knocked out of position, which is a more common cause of deviated septum. In the case of infants, they may suffer such an injury during the process of birth. Tripping on a step, colliding with another person on the sidewalk or other accidents may cause a nose injury and result in a deviated septum in older children and adults. But in most cases, during automobile accidents, contact sports or active play is when trauma to the nose occurs.





Managing the signs and symptoms of a deviated septum such as postnasal drip and nasal congestion is what the initial treatment for this condition will aim at. The patient may be prescribed:



The mucus of a person with a deviated septum may become blocked in the narrow passage and cause discomfort, postnasal drip or eventually, a sinus infection; because of this, avoiding a runny nose is very important for someone with a deviated septum. Antihistamines can help in this because they prevent many symptoms of cold and allergy, including a runny nose.



Decongestants could be used in the form of a pill or a nasal spray. These medications help keep the airways on both sides of the nose open by reducing nasal congestion.


Nasal cortisone sprays:

A person’s risk of nasal blockage and sinus infection will be decreased by these prescription nasal cortisone sprays because they help prevent runny nose and reduce inflammation in the nasal passage.


Being only a temporary fix, medications cannot correct a deviated septum.



A person may consider septoplasty, which is surgery to correct a deviated septum, in case they experience particularly bothersome symptoms such as frequent nosebleeds, significant airway obstruction or chronic sinusitis. The nasal septum will be repositioned in the center of the nose during septoplasty. Parts of the septum may be cut and removed and then reinserted in the correct position.
Skin incisions aren’t made during septoplasty and bruising or noticeable swelling doesn’t occur on the patient’s face because this surgery that may last up to ninety minutes is performed through the nostrils. Either local or general anesthesia may be used during septoplasty. To prevent bleeding after the surgery, the patient’s nose will be packed with cotton. The patient may be able to go home the same day as the surgery or he/she may need to spend the night in the hospital depending on how their nose heals and the amount of pain they experience. Excessive bleeding, a change in the shape of the nose, loss of sensitivity in the upper teeth or lip and infections are some of the risks of septoplasty.



Rhinoplasty is the name of the surgery that is performed to reshape the nose. In this procedure, the bone and cartilage of the nose are readjusted in order to change its size, shape, or both. Rhinoplasty is sometimes performed simultaneously with septoplasty. These two surgeries are performed only on adults aged 18 and over, because the noses of children still have time to develop.


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