Breathe More Effectively with Deviated Septum Surgery
When the bone and cartilage that divides the nasal cavity is off center or crooked, it is known as a deviated septum. Our doctors can perform deviated septum surgery at our Baltimore, MD, practice to help patients experiencing breathing difficulties or nasal congestion. Although a deviated septum can occur during fetal development or childbirth, you can also develop it from a broken nose or other impact nasal injuries. It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of all septums have some degree of deviation. Symptoms can include chronic sinus infections, snoring, nosebleeds, and difficulty breathing on one side of the nose. At Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat, Dr. Michael Weiss and the team can diagnose and relieve symptoms by performing a functional rhinoplasty (deviated septum surgery).
How Does a Deviated Septum Occur?
A deviated septum most frequently occurs during childbirth, through impact nasal trauma, or with age. Impact nasal trauma typically occurs from:
- Contact sports injury
- Falling or tripping
- An elbow, knee, or head to the face
- Vehicle accident
Our trained specialists at Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat will use a bright light, nasal spray, and a nasal speculum to carefully spread your nostrils and examine the nasal cavity. If the deviation occurs deeper within the nasal cavity, the doctor may use a small endoscope or perform a CT (computerized tomography) scan for a more detailed view.
It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of all septums have some degree of deviation.
Signs and Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
For patients with a mild deviated septum, symptoms may only occur during a sinus or upper respiratory infection, or not at all. Patients with moderate to severe cases will experience constant nasal congestion, with one nostril typically more congested than the other. Other frequent symptoms include:
- Chronic sinus infections
- Postnasal drip or runny nose
- Headaches and facial pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of smell
- Open mouth breathing
- Sleep apnea
In addition to fighting chronic sickness and breathing difficulties, a deviated septum can also affect your everyday life in other areas through the loss of sleep, costly medications, and constant doctors visits. Loss of smell can also compromise your enjoyment of your favorite foods.
Deviated Septum Treatment Options
Deviated septum symptoms can often be treated and relieved with medication alone. If you have a mild to moderate case and want to avoid surgery, your specialist may prescribe a decongestant, antihistamine, steroid spray, or nasal strip to see how your body responds. However, these medications only treat the side effects, they will not correct a deviated septum.
When medication fails to provide relief, surgery may be required. At Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat, our specialists will perform deviated septum surgery, also known as a functional rhinoplasty, to surgically repair your septum.
For surgery, your procedure will be performed in an outpatient setting under local or general anesthesia, and will take about one to two hours. During the procedure, your doctor will make tiny external and internal incisions to remove excess bone or cartilage and gently reshape and straighten the septum.
Once the septum is corrected, your doctor will stabilize your nose with sutures, surgical tape, or soft packing material to promote healing and a quick recovery. You may experience mild swelling and bruising for the first week following the procedure. If you follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, you can expect a smooth recovery.
Benefits of Deviated Septum Surgery
One of the immediate benefits of deviated septum surgery is a clearer nasal passageway. Within one to two weeks after surgery, you will also notice:
- Improved breathing
- Minimal to no snoring
- Straighter nose
- Restful sleep
- Return of smell and taste
Are You Having Trouble Breathing?
If you have been diagnosed with a deviated septum, or if you are experiencing constant nasal congestion and difficulty breathing, contact us today. We can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and recommend solutions to help you achieve relief.