What is a Deviated Septum and Do I Have One?

Everyone has a deviated septum, even after septal surgery the septum will never be perfectly strait. The septum is the cartilage and bone that divides the right side of the nose from the left side of the nose, and is the “tent pole” that holds the nose up. When this structure is deviated it simply means that it is shifted to one side, the other or both. It may be very mild and not noticeable or severe enough to compromise the nasal breathing. Septal deviations can result after trauma to the nose or can simply be the result of your genetic make-up. Having your septum fixed is not a “nose job” and will not change the appearance of the outside of the nose.

Fixing a septum is purely for functional reasons and is only recommended if nasal breathing is a problem and the septum is the cause. Breathing problems are usually related to both structural issues and congestion issues. It is recommended to try conservative regimens first to see if reducing congestion will improve breathing. These conservative regimens include allergy pills or prescription allergy nasal sprays. Sometimes a natural nasal saline rinse can be adequate enough. If septal surgery is performed, it is done through the inside of the nose. The covering skin of the septum is elevated off the cartilage and the bone and those structures are either reshaped and repositioned or sometimes partially shaved to allow for better nasal function and a straighter septum. There is no bruising under the eyes and rarely is packing of the nose necessary.

The surgery is not a medical necessity but can improve the quality of your life. You only need it fixed if you want to! We are born as obligate nose breathers and we have a nose to breathe through it. Chronic oral breathing will dry the throat and result in damage to the teeth and gums. Nasal obstruction can affect daily nasal breathing, sleep and exercise and these are some of the reasons people would choose to have their septum straitened.

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