The Seattle

Plastic Surgery Center

William A. Portuese, M.D.

What Are Soliutions For A Deviated Septum

A deviated septum is a condition caused by an asymmetry in the nasal septum, the bone and cartilage that separates the two nostrils. It occurs when the septum is shifted to one side of the nose, narrowing one or both nostrils and blocking airflow. This can lead to breathing issues, frequent sinus infections, snoring and sleep apnea.

The severity of this condition varies from person to person, but for many it can have a significant impact on their daily life. Fortunately, there are treatments available for people with a deviated septum. Surgery is often recommended as a solution for severe cases of deviation; however, there are also non-surgical treatment options that may be beneficial for milder cases.

This article will provide an overview of solutions for a deviated septum. It will discuss surgical treatments such as septoplasty or turbinate reduction, as well as non-surgical options like medications and lifestyle changes. The risks and benefits associated with each treatment option will also be covered in detail.


A deviated septum is a condition where the nasal septum, which is the wall that divides the nostrils, is off-center or crooked. This can cause difficulty in breathing and other symptoms. In severe cases, it may require medical intervention to correct.

The diagnosis of a deviated septum can be made by examining the nose with an endoscope or rhinoscopy. A CT scan can also be done to determine the extent of any deviation. Other tests such as allergy testing may also be recommended to identify any underlying causes that might have contributed to the deviated septum.

Treatment for a deviated septum depends on its severity and underlying cause. Non-surgical options may include medications, lifestyle changes, and decongestants or nasal sprays to reduce inflammation and improve airflow in the nasal passages. Surgery known as a septoplasty may be necessary if there are severe deformities or blockages that cannot be corrected with non-surgical methods.

Causes Of A Deviated Septum

A deviated septum is a condition where the nasal septum, which separates the two nostrils, is displaced from its normal midline position. It can be caused by genetic factors or result from an injury or trauma to the nose. Common causes of a deviated septum include a birth defect, facial trauma, or occupational hazards such as those encountered in sports or construction work.

Deviated septums can lead to various symptoms including difficulty breathing through the nose, frequent nosebleeds, headaches and sinus pressure. If left untreated, it can cause recurring infections and chronic congestion. The degree of obstruction can vary and may require surgical intervention.

Treatment for a deviated septum typically involves lifestyle changes such as avoiding allergens and irritants that can worsen symptoms. Surgery is another option to correct a deviated septum when conservative measures are not effective. Septoplasty is a commonly performed procedure in which the nasal structures are repositioned, restoring proper airflow through the nostrils. This procedure may be combined with other treatments such as turbinate reduction to provide optimal relief from symptoms associated with deviated septums.

Symptoms Of A Deviated Septum

The symptoms of a deviated septum are often nonspecific and vary depending on the severity of the deviation. Common symptoms may include difficulty breathing, frequent nosebleeds, sinus infections, snoring, and headaches. Nasal congestion can also be an issue due to blockage or obstruction in the nasal passages. Patients may also experience facial pain or pressure due to decreased airflow and increased mucosal secretions. In some cases, a deviated septum can cause facial asymmetry as well as a deformity of the external nose.

Diagnosis is most commonly done by imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Endoscopic examination is also used to visualize internal structures within the nasal cavity in order to determine the extent of the deviation. Other tests such as acoustic rhinometry or rhinoscopy can be used to assess nasal airflow and detect any obstructions within the nasal passages.

Treatment options for a deviated septum depend upon its severity and can range from medications such as intranasal steroids or decongestants to surgical repair known as septoplasty or turbinoplasty. Surgery is recommended when other treatments have not adequately addressed symptoms associated with a deviated septum, such as chronic sinusitis or difficulty breathing through one side of the nose.

Diagnosis Of A Deviated Septum

Diagnosis of a deviated septum is usually done by an otolaryngologist, which is a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat conditions. During the diagnosis, the doctor may conduct a physical examination of the nasal cavity. This includes using a small mirror to examine the nostrils and looking for any signs of obstruction in the nasal passage. The doctor may also use long thin tools called endoscopes to view the inside of the nasal cavity.

In addition to physical examination, imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans may also be used to get an accurate picture of the deviated septum. These tests help to identify any blockages or deformities in the septum that could be causing symptoms.

After diagnosing a deviated septum, treatment options can then be discussed with the patient. Depending on the severity of symptoms and how much they are affecting quality of life, surgical procedures such as septoplasty may be recommended by a doctor if other treatments such as medications have not been successful.

Non-Surgical Treatments For A Deviated Septum

Although surgery is the most effective way to treat a deviated septum, there are non-surgical treatments available for those who have a mild condition. Non-surgical treatments include medications, lifestyle changes, and minimally invasive procedures.

Medications can be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling, which can help relieve some of the symptoms associated with a deviated septum. Commonly prescribed drugs include nasal steroids, decongestants, and antihistamines. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is present. If the patient is suffering from allergies or sinusitis, then immunotherapy may be recommended.

Lifestyle changes can also help alleviate symptoms of a deviated septum. These include avoiding exposure to irritants such as smoke and dust; using saline nose drops or sprays; using humidifiers; and taking hot showers to loosen mucus buildup in the nose. In addition, keeping the nose clean by washing it regularly with salt water can help reduce congestion and prevent infection.

Minimally invasive procedures such as balloon sinuplasty may also be used to treat a deviated septum. During this procedure, a balloon catheter is inserted into the nostril to widen the opening of the nasal passages and allow for better airflow. This procedure is typically done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia and does not require any incisions or stitches. The results of this procedure are usually long-lasting with minimal risks or side effects.

Non-surgical treatments for a deviated septum provide relief from many of its common symptoms without the need for major surgery or long recovery times associated with traditional surgical options. However, it is important to discuss all available treatment options with your doctor before deciding on one that best suits your individual needs in order to achieve optimal results.

Surgical Options For A Deviated Septum

Surgical treatment of a deviated septum is usually recommended when the deformity is severe and causes significant symptoms. The goal of surgery is to correct the septal deviation, improve nasal breathing and reduce any related sinus problems. Most surgeries are performed under general anesthesia and involve removing or repositioning parts of the septum.

Septoplasty is the most common surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. This procedure involves making an incision in the mucosa lining of the nose to gain access to the underlying cartilage and bone of the septum. The surgeon then either removes excess tissue or repositions it to straighten out the septum. In some cases, additional procedures such as turbinate reduction may be required to ensure optimal results.

In addition, other surgical procedures may be necessary depending on individual circumstances such as rhinoplasty for cosmetic purposes or sinus surgery if there is an accompanying sinus problem. Following surgery, recovery can take up to several weeks with medications often prescribed for pain management and swelling control. With proper care and follow-up, long-term outcomes are usually satisfactory with improved nasal breathing and fewer sinus problems.

Recovery And Postoperative Care

Following a surgical procedure for a deviated septum, ensuring proper postoperative care is essential for successful recovery. The process of recovery begins with the patient receiving detailed instructions from their physician about how to properly care for themselves and manage their symptoms in the weeks following the procedure. It is important for patients to follow all instructions carefully and contact their physician if any questions or concerns arise.

The most common postoperative symptom is nasal congestion due to swelling and inflammation. To reduce swelling, it is important to keep the head elevated while sleeping, as well as avoid blowing the nose or engaging in strenuous activity during the healing period. Additionally, decongestants can be used to provide relief from nasal congestion while over-the-counter pain medications may be used to alleviate discomfort caused by surgery.

It is also important to note that postoperative bleeding can occur within the first 24 hours after surgery. If significant bleeding occurs, patients should seek immediate medical attention. In addition, patients may experience some drainage from the nose which should resolve within 1-2 weeks after surgery. If symptoms persist beyond this time frame or become worse, further medical evaluation is recommended.

Benefits Of Treating A Deviated Septum

Treating a deviated septum has several benefits. First, it can improve breathing and reduce the associated symptoms of sinus congestion, pressure or pain, snoring, and mouth breathing. By restoring the position of the septum in the nose, air flow can be improved for better air quality and easier breathing. Second, it can also improve aesthetics of the nose by increasing symmetry and reducing any bumps or irregularities on the bridge of the nose. Third, treating a deviated septum may help to prevent future problems such as recurrent infections or other complications.

The most common treatment for a deviated septum is a surgical procedure called septoplasty. This procedure involves making an incision in the nasal passage to reposition the cartilage or bone that is blocking airflow. The surgeon will then use sutures to secure the tissue in its new position before closing up the incision with stitches. In some cases, additional procedures may be recommended such as rhinoplasty to improve cosmetic appearance or turbinate reduction to reduce swelling in surrounding areas.

Septoplasty offers effective relief from symptoms and can provide long-term results if done correctly. Patients should discuss their options with their doctor before deciding on a course of action to ensure they get the best possible outcome from treatment.

Potential Complications After Surgery

Potential complications after surgery for a deviated septum can include bleeding, infection, and obstruction of the nasal passages. Bleeding is a common complication that can occur after surgery. The surgeon may need to control it during the procedure or afterwards with nasal packing. Infection is also possible following surgery and can be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of infection include fever, facial pain, tenderness and swelling around the eyes or nose, headache, congestion, and discharge from the nose. Lastly, obstruction of the nasal passages can occur due to scar tissue forming in the septum or in areas where tissue has been removed. This can lead to difficulty breathing and may require additional procedures to correct it.

In rare cases, a septoplasty may cause some numbness in the nose or upper lip area due to nerve damage from cutting into the septum. Additionally, there is a chance that sinusitis could be caused by scarring in the sinus passages which could lead to further complications such as headaches and chronic congestion. It is important to follow post-surgery instructions closely to minimize any potential complications after undergoing a deviated septum surgery.

Cost And Insurance Coverage

The cost of surgery for a deviated septum can vary greatly. Factors such as the complexity of the procedure, the type of anesthesia used, and where it is performed can all influence the overall price. Typically, insurance plans will cover the cost of surgery to correct a deviated septum if it is deemed medically necessary. However, this may not be the case for cosmetic surgeries or other elective procedures. Patients should check with their insurance provider to understand what is covered and what they would need to pay out-of-pocket.

In some cases, there may be additional costs associated with surgery for a deviated septum that are not covered by insurance. These costs could include surgical supplies, pre-operative and post-operative care, medication, and transportation costs in order to attend follow-up appointments or other medical visits related to the surgery. It is important that patients review their insurance policy thoroughly and understand any potential additional expenses they may incur before undergoing the procedure.

Patients who are considering having surgery for a deviated septum should research their options carefully and discuss all financial implications with their doctor prior to scheduling an appointment. It is important to ensure that all costs associated with the procedure are understood beforehand in order to make an informed decision about receiving treatment.


Deviated septum is a common condition that can cause a range of symptoms. It is important to diagnose and treat this condition, as there are many potential benefits, including improved breathing, better sinus drainage and less nasal congestion. Non-surgical treatments may be recommended for mild deviations, while surgery may be necessary for more severe cases. Surgery is typically the most effective treatment option, although it does have the risk of complications. The cost of treatment depends on the type of procedure used and whether or not it is covered by insurance.

Overall, deviated septum is a common issue with potentially serious consequences if left untreated. An accurate diagnosis and proper treatment plan are essential in order to achieve optimal outcomes. Non-surgical treatments can be beneficial in mild cases, while surgery may be necessary for more severe conditions. It is important to discuss cost and insurance coverage with a healthcare provider before proceeding with any form of treatment.

In conclusion, deviated septum is an important condition that requires accurate diagnosis and effective treatment in order to achieve optimal outcomes. Non-surgical treatments such as medications or lifestyle changes may be recommended for mild cases while surgery may be necessary for more severe deviations. Cost and insurance coverage should also be taken into account when selecting a course of action. With the right diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan, this condition can often be managed successfully without long-term effects on quality of life or overall health.

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