How Does a Deviated Septum Impact Your Life?
The cartilage in the nose separating the nostrils is known as the septum. The septum generally sits at the center of the nostrils and divides them evenly. It, however, is not the case with some people. Many people have a deviated septum making one of their nostrils appear more prominent than the other. When the septum is severely uneven, it is identified as a deviated septum.
The condition of a deviated septum is quite common and can cause health complications such as difficulties in breathing and a blocked nostril. Approximately 80 percent of all septums are uneven to some degree, states the American Academy of otolaryngology — head and neck surgery. Medical attention is required for a deviated septum only if it causes various health issues or negatively impacts the quality of life.
What the Causes of a Deviated Nasal Septum?
Congenital reasons are attributed to a deviated nasal septum indicating a patient could be born with the problem. A deviated septum can also occur as a result of injuries to the nose. Car accidents, physical altercations, and contact sports are also reasons for this problem. A deviated nasal septum can worsen with age.
Symptoms of Deviated Nasal Septum
Most people affected by this problem only have a minor deviation where the symptoms are unlikely to be significant. The possible symptoms that can affect people are the following:
- The affected individual may have difficulties breathing through the nose.
- He or she may find it easier to breathe from one nostril.
- The affected individual may suffer from sinus infections, nose bleeds, dryness in one nostril, nasal congestion, or loud breathing when sleeping.
The severe deviation of the nasal septum is accompanied by facial pain and needs a visit to a physician if the patient suffers from frequent nosebleeds or sinus infections. A visit to South Florida ENT Associates becomes necessary if the deviated septum is causing breathing difficulties to affect the quality of life.
Diagnosing a Deviated Septum
The physician examines your nostrils when diagnosing a deviated septum with a nasal speculum. The placement of the spectrum is also checked by the doctor to determine how it is impacting the size of the nostril. Questions will be asked by the doctor about sinus problems, breathing difficulties, snoring, and sleep when diagnosing the condition.
Treatment for Deviated Septum
Treatment is not needed in most cases, but patients affected with a severely deviated nasal septum
are advised surgery, which is a standard option for the procedure. Many patients prefer not to undergo surgery for a deviated septum because of the costs, risks, and other factors. Other treatments that are available to lessen the symptoms of this condition without resolving the deviated septum include:
- Nasal steroid spray.
- Nasal strips.
If the symptoms being experienced, do not improve with medication or other treatment options ENT specialists recommend reconstructive surgery with septoplasty. The surgical procedure of septoplasty is performed under anesthesia and completed in approximately 90 minutes. Depending upon your unique situation and the surgeon performing the surgery, local or general anesthesia is used for the sedation.
During the procedure, the septum is cut open by the surgeon to remove excess cartilage or bone. It is to straighten the septum along with your nasal passage. Your nostrils are inserted with silicone splints to support the septum. The incision is then closed with stitches.
You will be monitored after the surgery for complications but, in most cases, will be able to return home the same day. The procedure of septoplasty is safe for patients who can tolerate anesthesia. Some risks that are associated include:
- The shape of your nose may change.
- You may have persistent problems even after the surgery.
- You may experience excessive bleeding and a decreased sense of smell.
- You may experience temporary numbness in the upper gums and teeth along with septal hematoma.
The cost of the procedure is approximately $ 6000-$ 30,000, but part of septoplasty costs may be covered by insurance.
Recovering After Septoplasty
The ENT specialist from Jupiter, FL, will recommend medications to reduce your risk of post-operative infections or to manage any pain or discomfort. It is essential to take the medicines prescribed without exceptions. Patients are recommended not to disrupt their nose during the healing period. Approximately 3 to 6 months after septoplasty, the septum becomes relatively stable.
A deviated nasal septum may not cause any issues or need treatment, but in some cases, it can lead to complications. It is therefore recommended that discussions with the doctor be held to consider treatment options suitable for you if you have a severely deviated nasal septum.