About 80 percent of people have a deviated septum and aren’t even aware of it. The septum is the partition of bone and cartilage that separates the two channels, or nostrils, in your nose. A deviated septum is the misalignment of this wall. Although a minor deviation may go unnoticed, a significant misalignment can cause breathing problems and other serious health issues. These include repeated sinus infections, pressure headaches, and recurring nosebleeds as well as postnasal drip, loud snoring and difficulty breathing. You may also experience facial pain and sleep apnea, a serious medical condition that causes you to stop breathing temporarily in your sleep and can lead to a stroke. Deviated septum surgery is one option for treatment, though some patients want to avoid such an invasive solution due to potential risks. To relieve the symptoms, some people alternatively take over-the-counter sinus and pain medications.
Who Should Consider Deviated Septum Surgery?
In some cases, the deviation occurs during fetal development and is present at birth. The most common reason for a deviated septum is a traumatic injury. The misalignment may occur during childbirth or as the result of a wide array of accidents that cause you to fall and strike your nose. Trauma to the nose is also common during contact sports, rough play and automobile accidents. Normal aging weakens the structure of your nose, which can cause the deviation to worsen over time. The swelling of nasal tissue from repeated nose infections can also worsen the deviation and cause a nasal obstruction.
Non-surgical Treatment for a Deviated Septum
After your initial diagnosis, you may wish to try medication to relieve the symptoms. Decongestants can reduce the swelling of nasal passages and help keep your airways open. The drawback of this approach is that frequent use of decongestants may cause a rebound effect that makes the symptoms worse. While antihistamines can control some allergy-like symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, these medications may cause drowsiness that can prevent you from performing daily tasks like driving. These medications may provide relief from some of the symptoms, but they cannot correct the underlying cause. Depending on the severity of the misalignment, you may need deviated septum surgery, or septoplasty, to address the problem.
Benefits of Deviated Septum Surgery
In addition to an improved cosmetic appearance of straightening a crooked nose, deviated septum surgery provides numerous benefits. The expected result of septoplasty is the proper alignment of the septum so you can enjoy effortless breathing. The procedure will expand your nasal airways and improve airflow through your nose. This will help eliminate symptoms like congestion, headaches, and snoring. The surgery may also alleviate symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
What to Expect During Surgery
Deviated septum surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia. During the procedure, the facial plastic surgeon will make a small incision on one side of your nose to reach the septum so it can be moved into the correct position. Extra pieces of bone and cartilage will be removed. Your nose will be packed. Stitches and splints may also be required to hold the septum and mucous membrane in position until you are completely healed. One day after surgery, the packing is removed. After about one week, sutures, and splints will be removed. You should experience little or no bruising in areas other than your nose.
With Dr. David Hecht, our double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and rhinoplasty specialist, a septoplasty is most often combined with a cosmetic rhinoplasty procedure to correct the aesthetic and functional aspects of the nose. Dr. Hecht prefers the use of general anesthesia to have full control of the surgical environment, as he finds this is safer for the patient.
Achieving the Best Results
While all surgery carries potential risks, you can reduce possible complications by seeing a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist. In addition to having the expertise to perform cosmetic procedures, this medical professional is also trained in the therapeutic and surgical treatment of disorders affecting the underlying structures of the nose. These certifications indicate a peer-reviewed level of competency that ensures your facial plastic surgeon understands the physical function of the nose, as well as its cosmetic appearance. You will achieve better results overall when you consult a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty surgery.
Where to Get Deviated Septum Surgery in Scottsdale, Arizona
Dr. David Hecht is board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology. There is no reason to continue suffering the adverse effects of a deviated septum or simply living with a crooked nose that you hate. Let Dr. Hecht show you how deviated septum surgery with cosmetic rhinoplasty can improve your quality of life. Contact our Scottsdale Facial Plastic Surgery practice for more information or to schedule a consultation.