Breath easier with a straight septum

Despite the exotic sounding name, a deviated septum, is a common physical disorder of the nose, where the nasal septum (the bone and cartilage in the nose that separates the nasal cavity into the two nostrils) is displaced.  

Your septum should be straight and divide the nose equally into two sides but when it is deviated, that means it curves to one side or the other.  This displacement can cause breathing problems and lessen the amount of secretions that can drain, leading to an increased incidence of sinus infections.

A deviated septum can be caused by trauma, such as a broken nose from a blow to the face, compression of the nose during childbirth or it can be an inherited trait.  Nasal surgery performed to improve breathing function secondary to an obstructed nasal airway.  This procedure, whether performed alone or in conjunction with cosmetic surgery of the nose, is considered reconstructive.

If you're considering deviated septum surgery, this outline will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon.  Dr. Walker is more than happy to clarify any misunderstandings, please contact her office with any questions or concerns you may have.

What happens during deviated septum surgery?

Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during rhinoplasty surgery.

Step 2 – The incision
Surgery of the nose is performed either using a closed procedure, where incisions are hidden inside the nose, or an open procedure, where an incision is made across the columella, the narrow strip of tissue that separates the nostrils.  Through these incisions, the soft tissues that cover the nose are gently raised, allowing access to reshape the structure of the nose.

Step 3 – Correcting a deviated septum
The septum is straightened and the projections inside the nose are reduced to improve breathing.

Step 4 – Closing the incision
Once the underlying structure of the nose is sculpted to the desired shape, nasal skin and tissue is redraped and incisions are closed.

Step 5 – See the results
Splints and internal tubes will likely support the nose as it begins to heal for approximately one week.

Good candidates for deviated septum surgery

A deviated septum procedure is a good option for you if:

  • Your facial growth is complete and you are 13 years of age or older
  • You have an obstruction in one or both nostrils that makes it difficult to breathe
  • You are physically healthy
  • You do not smoke

If you have more questions about deviated septum surgery, take a look at our resources and education section.