A deviated nasal septum occurs when the nasal septum (the wall separating the left and right nostrils) is not centered between the two nostrils.
- Present at birth; arose during fetal development (5% of cases)
- Birth injury to the nose
- A blow to the nose, often during an accident or while playing sports
- Different growth rates between the cartilaginous part of the septum and the bony section
- Stuffy nose (one or both sides)
- Sinus infections
- Breathing noisily during sleep
- Postnasal drip
Treatment of a deviated septum is based on the patient's symptoms. It may include:
- Analgesics (pain medications) to relieve headaches
- Decongestants to reduce secretions
- Antibiotics to eliminate a suspected infection
- corrective surgery for the more persistent, troublesome symptoms
The indications for surgical repair of a deviated nasal septum include recurrent sinus infections, difficulty in breathing through the nose or for cosmetic reasons.
Corrective surgery may consist of rhinoplasty to correct nasal structure deformity and septoplasty to relieve nasal obstruction and enhance cosmetic appearance. The two procedures together are called septorhinoplasty. Children who need surgery are usually asked to wait until they've stopped growing. Most patients achieve relief of nasal obstruction after surgery.