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What is a Deviated Septum?

The nasal septum is the cartilage-like wall between the nostrils, which should be center of the nose so that the left and right nostrils are the same size. When the septum becomes “deviated,” it means that one nasal passage is smaller than the other.

In some cases, the deviation is minor, which causes little to no symptoms. Adults may or may not even notice, because the deviation is so small. However, cases can be severe, causing several different symptoms where treatment is necessary.

Symptoms can include:

  • Reduced Airflow – this can cause difficulty breathing or even more exposure to the larger side. The wider opening can cause a drying effect, which can lead to crusting or nosebleeds.

  • Blockagescongestion or obstructions can occur when the tissues that line the nose become inflamed or swell.

  • Facial Pain or Headaches – this happens when the surfaces of the nose touch from the swelling, which can cause sensitivity and pain.

  • Noisy breathing – when the nostrils become obstructed it can cause snoring or loud breathing.

  • Frequent Sinus Infections – Nasal passages become super sensitive and any allergen that usually passes through can get caught and cause infections in the sinus tissues.

What causes a severe deviated septum?

In some cases, a person can be born with a deviated septum, because the nose developed that way before birth. Most of the time, a severe deviated septum is caused by physical injury from sports, games, car accidents, or blunt force trauma to the nose.

When should you see a doctor?

If your deviated septum causes frequent nosebleeds, repeated sinus infections, or your breathing has become altered – it is time to see your ENT. An ENT may try different prescription medications to reduce the swelling or inflammation of the nose, which may only be temporary treatment. For severe cases, surgery is usually required. An ENT may perform one of the following to rectify the deviated septum:

  • Septoplasty – moving the septum back into place.

  • Rhinoplasty – reshaping the external appearance of the nose.

  • Septorhinoplasty – when the septum is moved and the external appearance is altered.

In almost all cases, these minor surgeries fix the issue with little downtime. No matter what, we have several ENT specialists that will look into your symptoms and issues and find a treatment plan that is right for you. Contact us today: (770) 237-3000.

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