A deviated septum is a common condition involving the nose. It is important to note that the septum is the bony area and cartilage separating the left and right sides of the nasal area.
The deviation or displacement of the nasal septum is generally due to trauma such as a direct impact to the face. In some cases, it might be hereditary or linked to systemic cartilage conditions.
If an individual has a deviated septum, the septum in the nasal cavity appears to lean to the right or left side. This results to insufficient drainage of the sinuses. Due to this, the individual might complain of the following:
- Difficulty breathing via one or both nostrils
- Nasal congestion
- Bloody nose
- Sleep apnea
Many individuals with a diverged septum do not usually have any symptoms.
How is it diagnosed
A diagnosis is usually made after a physical exam is done. The doctor will carefully assess the nose externally and internally. This involves the use of a nasal speculum to lightly widen the nostrils and a light source is utilized to scrutinize the interior of the nose and septum.
Management of a deviated septum
In most instances, a deviated septum can be fixed with surgery. The process is normally carried out on an outpatient basis.
The surgery is carried out entirely via the nostrils, thus there is no external bruising or incisions present. The procedure usually takes 1-2 hours to complete. Oftentimes, the surgery is done with rhinoplasty or sinus surgery.
An expected outcome of the surgery is increased nasal obstruction that improves over the next few weeks. This is brought about by the swelling that arises during surgery.