Discuss your symptoms and any known nose damage or surgeries with your primary care provider or an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist, or otolaryngologist. They will examine your nose inside and out, and might recommend additional tests based on your individual needs. When there is clearly a crooked/deviated septum, and the symptoms are severe enough to warrant intervention, the ENT specialist may suggest surgery as an option if medical treatment fails.
Septoplasty is the preferred surgical treatment to correct a deviated septum. This procedure is typically not performed on young children, unless the problem is severe, because facial growth and development are still occurring. Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that is usually performed through the nostrils, so there is no bruising or outward sign of surgery; however, each case is different and special techniques may be required depending on the individual patient.
The time required for the septoplasty operation averages about one- to one-and-a-half hours, depending on the type of deformity. It can be done with a local or a general anesthetic, usually on an outpatient basis. During the surgery, badly deviated portions of the septum may be removed entirely, or they may be readjusted and reinserted into the nose. Surgery may be combined with a rhinoplasty that changes the outward shape of the nose; in this case swelling and bruising may occur. Septoplasty may also be combined with sinus surgery.
Are There Related Factors or Conditions?
- Inferior turbinate hypertrophy—turbinates are finger-like structures in your nose that warm and moisten the air you breathe, and sometimes the lower ones can get too big
- Concha bullosa of the middle turbinate—this is when one of the turbinates next to your sinus openings gets a big air bubble in it
- Nasal valve collapse (internal or external)
- Sinusitis (acute, recurrent, chronic)
- Headaches (contact point)
- External nasal deformity (change in the shape of the nose)
- Decreased sense of smell
Are There Potential Dangers or Complications?
Sometimes a deviated septum may lead to repeated nosebleeds. If the blockage is severe, it may force mouth-breathing at night, which can worsen sleep disorders. However, potential complications from septoplasty (surgery) can include:
- Anesthesia complications
- Creation of a hole connecting the right and left sides of the nasal cavity (called a septal perforation)
- Numbness of the upper teeth and nose
- Cerebrospinal fluid leak (extremely rare)
- Change in the external shape of the nose