You may have heard the term “deviated septum.” A deviated septum is a condition when the bone and cartilage, that divide a nose into two chambers (right and left nostrils), is not straight and can be bent towards one or both sides.
When a deviated septum is severe, it can block the nasal passage. This, in turn, impairs breathing by reducing airflow through one or both nostrils. With reduced airflow, mucus, pus, and inflammation collects in the passageway. A drying effect may also occur, contributing to crusting in the nasal cavity and possibly bleeding. Also, heavy snoring can be a side-effect which may lead to sleep apnea.
Since a deviated septum can cause multiple problems with breathing, a surgical procedure known as Septoplasty may be prescribed to correct the problem. The nasal septum is straightened by trimming, repositioning, and replacing cartilage and bone when necessary.
To begin, a small incision is made inside the nose between the nostrils. When the nasal bones are crooked and pushing the septum to one side the bones may need to be repositioned to place them back to the center. When the deviated septum is along the bridge of the nose, grafts (small strips of cartilage) maybe used to reinforce and correct the deviated septum.
Depending on the complexity of the procedure, different levels of anesthesia are considered. Options include:
- Local anesthesia injected into the nose to numb the area
- Sedation through an intravenous (IV) line placed in a vein
- General anesthesia which causes a state of temporary unconsciousness
Options and their connected benefits and risks are always discussed with patients prior to surgery.
Each person’s symptoms, treatments, and recovery times are different. However, the end results for a vast majority of people will be improvements in their breathing once the septum has been straightened and the nose heals.
Dr. Shuaib will discuss how to prepare for the surgery with patients and what to expect immediately following the procedure. As with any surgery, there are risks involved. However, certain risks can be reduced by following Dr. Shuaib’s prescribed instructions before and after surgery.
For more information about Septoplasty or Sleep Apnea, make an appointment with Dr. Shuaib today for a consultation and an examination of your septum.
Dr. Stefan Shuaib is one of the top nasal surgeons in Texas and provides on-site diagnosis and treatment for Rio Grande Valley patients. If you are concerned about any changes or symptoms you may be experiencing due in part to a deviated septum, it is important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shuaib today by calling (956) 362-8125.