It’s rare to have a perfectly straight septum, which is the thin cartilage and bone separating your nostrils. However, when it is significantly misaligned – what is called a deviated septum – you may have difficulty breathing, which can lead to other problems such as snoring, sleep apnea, nasal congestion, chronic sinus infections, and nosebleeds.
A deviated septum may be something you are born with, or it may become crooked or off-center due to an injury. While most people have one nostril that is smaller than the other, if the misalignment of the septum is severe, it can block one entire side of the nose.
When to Consider Deviated Septum Treatment
Most people with a deviated septum begin to consider treating the condition when they start to experience symptoms or complications of the condition, including:
- Nasal congestion in one or both nostrils. This may be more apparent when you have a cold or sinus infection, or when allergies cause swelling in nasal tissue.
- Frequent nosebleeds. The side of the septum facing the blocked nostril may become dry and more prone to nosebleeds.
- Snoring and sleep apnea. A deviated septum can make it difficult to breathe, which can disturb your sleep. You may also notice a tendency to sleep on one side if it allows better breathing during sleep.
- Chronic sinus infections. A blocked nostril can make you more susceptible to repeated bouts of sinusitis and all of its symptoms.
- Chronic runny nose. Recurrent inflammation of nasal tissue can worsen a deviated septum by additionally restricting the size of your nasal passageway.
- Dry mouth. If you have a deviated septum, you may not notice that you are mouth breathing (due to the airway restriction), but you usually do notice the resulting dry mouth.
Symptoms related to a deviated septum may worsen with time, as the structure of your nose can change slightly as you age. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should visit an ENT specialist like Dr. Scott W. Franklin in Georgetown, Texas.
If the degree of your septum deviation is not severe, you may only need medication such as decongestants, antihistamines, and oral or nasal steroids to manage your symptoms
However, for more severe cases of a deviated septum, you might benefit from a surgical procedure called a septoplasty, which can reposition the septum and restore more balanced airflow through your nose.
After evaluating your condition, Dr. Franklin will let you know what your treatment options are.
Deviated Septum Surgery
A septoplasty is performed through small incisions made inside the nose, so there is no visible scarring afterward. It is one of the most common ENT procedures and is most often performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia.
If you also have enlarged turbinates – fleshy structures that develop in nasal or sinus tissue after repeated inflammation – Dr. Franklin may recommend you undergo a turbinoplasty at the same time as the septoplasty. This reduces the size of the turbinates and enlarges the affected airway.
Do you have a deviated septum? Take our survey to find out if you may benefit from sinus surgery.
Deviated Septum Treatment in Georgetown, TX
If you have symptoms of a deviated septum, schedule a consultation with Dr. Scott Franklin at Georgetown ENT. Call our Georgetown, Texas office today at (512) 869-0604 or request an appointment online.