Deviated Septum Scottsdale


When the bone and cartilage that separate the two sides of a person’s nasal cavities are off-center, this is a condition known as a deviated septum. This condition is not uncommon. In fact, up to 80 percent of people have some degree of deviation in their septum. Most don’t even know they have it. Problems arise when the septum is significantly off-center, causing breathing difficulties.

A deviated septum can be a serious medical condition that can cause a laundry list of symptoms. Deviated septum symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • repeated sinus infections due to chronic irritation
  • nose bleeds
  • pressure headaches
  • postnasal drip
  • loud snoring
  • difficulty breathing
  • facial pain and pressure

Sometimes sleep apnea can occur. This is a serious medical condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep, bringing with it the danger of a stroke in the middle of the night, and even death.

Causes of Deviated Septum

A deviated septum is often caused by an injury or trauma to the nose. Some people are simply born with a severely deviated septum. No matter what the cause, deviated septum surgery can put an end to most, if not all of the symptoms.

Diagnosis of a Deviated Septum

A person experiencing one or more of the common symptoms of a deviated septum should be examined by a specialist ear, nose and throat physician who is board certified by The American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery & The American Academy of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Hecht is double board-certified with these organizations, making him an expert in rhinoplasty surgeries of all types, for cosmetic and functional reasons. When you see a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon about your deviated septum, they will ask if you have ever experienced trauma to the nose or previous nasal surgery. Your surgeon will evaluate symptoms and examine the septum, tissues in the nasal cavity and sinuses with a nasal speculum and a bright light. The specialist will then use this information to determine a diagnosis and a course of treatment.

Treatment of a Deviated Septum

revision rhinoplastySymptoms of a deviated septum can sometimes be lessened with the use of medications, but these do not solve the underlying problem. With chronic cases of sinusitis, particularly in severe cases of a deviated septum that involve difficulty breathing while asleep and awake, surgery is recommended. The surgical procedure to correct a deviated septum is known as a septoplasty.

What to Expect with Septoplasty Surgery

A surgeon performing a septoplasty makes a small incision inside the nose, and uses that incision to remove the excess cartilage and bone, evening out the nasal passages. A cosmetic rhinoplasty or “nose job” is often combined with a septoplasty in order to maintain the appearance of the nose, or to correct any major off-center deviations. It is often necessary in severe cases to perform a rhinoplasty in order to fully correct the deviated septum. Sinus surgery may also be performed at this time, for those with chronic sinusitis or other long term issues.

Surgery to repair a deviated septum is usually performed on an outpatient basis and is usually done under general anesthesia. Surgery is usually complete in under two hours and the patient can go home between three and five hours after surgery.

Splints and packing material are used in order to hold the bones and cartilage in place and minimize bleeding until the septum heals enough to be relatively stable. There should be very little visible bruising if only a septoplasty is performed, since most of the work is internal. However, septum surgery combined with a rhinoplasty or sinus surgery may cause visible swelling and bruising for up to two weeks following surgery.

Surgery is usually not recommended for patients under 15 years of age because the nose is still growing at a fast rate. Only a specialist can make this determination, however. Young patients with serious problems breathing need to be evaluated by a specialist and a determination can be made at that time.

Expected Results

A septoplasty combined with a rhinoplasty can significantly impact a patient’s life. Symptoms are most often completely eliminated or greatly reduced after the patient fully recovers from surgery. Patients should seek evaluation immediately if they suspect they may have a deviated septum.

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