Deviated Septum Treatment

A deviated septum is a common condition where many who have it don’t know it. The nasal septum is a thin wall of tissue that separates the two nostrils. When it is not centered in the middle of the nose, then it is deviated.

The nasal septum consists of two parts, a rigid bone that becomes cartilage at the end of the nose. The cartilage is flexible and can be easily bent from side to side. If the nasal septum is shifted to one side, it can restrict the flow of air and mucus through the nose. This is a deviated septum which often times can lead to symptoms and diseases.

Deviated septum can be a simple variation of the normal structure or the result of a broken nose. Any reduction of the nasal cavity resulting from this can block normal release of sinus secretions which must be excreted through the nose. There is always the increased risk of infection when the body is prevented from discharging waste, including mucus from the sinuses. People with allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies to pollen and other airborne contaminants) are at increased risk because the membranes in their noses are already inflamed and swollen. Many allergy sufferers also must deal with chronic sinusitis which is made worse if the septum is deviated.

In some cases the condition must be dealt with so that the patient can live a more normal life. If breathing is affected and the patient can only breathe through one nostril in common, action may be required. A deviated septum may also contribute to snoring, sleep apnea and other breathing disorders.

The definitive treatment is surgical repositioning which actually breaks the wall and having it reset in the proper position. For temporary relief, decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylpropanolamine can reduce swelling in the mucus membranes to increase airflow. Nasal steroid sprays can also be used in acute cases but only temporarily due to the long term negative effects of prolonged use.

There are many alternative treatments that have come and gone over the years. As a palliative, saline drops and sprays can lubricate the nostrils and loosen mucus to allow discharge. An effective treatment is done as a nasal lavage. In this procedure a saline solution is poured into one nostril and allowed to flow out of the other nostril. Then, the process is repeated in the opposite direction. These are ways to treat symptoms but do not solve the root problem. Nasospecific, a procedure where a small balloon-like device is inserted into the nose and inflated in an attempt to realign the septum. This is usually attempted as an alternative to surgery.

The prognosis of the deviated septum is fairly simple. Surgical repair and healing will give the greatest benefit in severe cases with little or no risk. Untreated, the chronic infections that can occur can be painful and cause further complications. Recurrent infections are likely if the obstruction remains untreated.

A deviated septum is a common condition where many who have it don’t know it. The nasal septum is a thin wall of tissue that separates the two nostrils. When it is not centered in the middle of the nose, then it is deviated.