In most adults, the nasal septum isn’t in the exact center of their nose. However, a deviated septum is usually a concern only when it's severely out of alignment and affects breathing or causes other problems. At Parkway ENT and Allergy, PA, David Sycamore, MD, recommends the treatment that’s best for your health. While many patients get relief with conservative options, others need surgery to reposition and repair the septum. If you have ongoing congestion, nosebleeds, or sinus infections, call the office in Katy, Texas, or schedule an appointment online.
Your septum is the thin piece of cartilage that lies in the center of your nose, where it separates your two nostrils. When the septum is significantly off-center, you have a deviated septum. Depending on the severity of the deviation, this condition can affect the appearance of your nose and block your airways, making it difficult to breathe.
You may not have any symptoms, or you may only develop symptoms when you have an upper respiratory tract infection. When your deviated septum is severe enough to cause problems, however, you'll experience one or more of the following:
A deviated septum can also lead to chronic sinusitis, sinus headaches, and facial pain. Many patients with a deviated septum also find that difficulty breathing interrupts their sleep or causes obstructive sleep apnea, making them tired throughout the day.
Patients with minimal symptoms may get all the relief they need from decongestants or antihistamines to clear their stuffy nose. However, if you have a severe deviation and persistent symptoms, such as trouble breathing, sleep apnea, or uncontrollable nosebleeds, Dr. Sycamore may recommend septoplasty.
Septoplasty is surgery to straighten your septum and place it back in the center of your nose. Dr. Sycamore performs the surgery through your nostrils so that you won't have visible scarring. During the procedure, he may trim or remove part of the septum, then reposition it so that it rests in the center of your nose.
Your surgery takes 60-90 minutes, depending on the extent of the deformity. You can also have other procedures done at the same time. For example, some patients choose to have rhinoplasty, which is surgery to change the shape of their nose.
During your recovery, you’ll need to sleep with your head elevated, so you don’t place pressure on your nose. Dr. Sycamore also advises patients to avoid strenuous activities for several weeks to prevent nosebleeds and to give your nose time to heal.
If you struggle with a stuffy nose or nosebleeds, call Parkway ENT and Allergy or schedule an appointment online.