The nasal septum is composed of bone and cartilage and serves to separate the nose into 2 nostrils. It should be straight, allowing air to pass freely through both nostrils. However, a deviated septum is an abnormal condition in which the bone and cartilage lean to one side and block the nasal passage. Depending on the level and degree of blockage, this can lead to sinus blockage and subsequent sinus infections and nasal congestion.
Symptoms of a deviated nasal septum include:
- Nasal congestion on one or both sides
- Frequent sinus infections
- Sleep apnea
- Nose bleeds
- Nasal examination
Examination of the patient’s nasal anatomy in the office is typically performed during routine examination. Many times, polyps are so large that they are completely blocking the entire nasal passage or extending out of the nose.
- Nasal endoscopy
A tiny camera is used to view the nasal passages and openings of the sinus cavities. This is painless, takes just a few minutes, and is very easily tolerated in the office. Nasal polyps, inflammatory processes, nasal/sinus anatomy, and allergy related changes of the nasal linings can be seen during this examination.
- CT (CAT) scan
This is the “gold standard” for imaging the sinus cavities. CT scans are quick, painless, and are routinely acquired for nearly all of our sinus and allergy patients. No intravenous (IV) contrast is needed, and the images are taken in digital format to review in the office.
We encourage all of our patients to first try non surgical methods to help treat their symptoms. Although balloon sinuplasty treatments are very effective in opening the sinuses, the addition of medications helps to maintain good sinus health. These include:
- Nasal steroid sprays (Flonase, Nasonex, Rhinocort, Nasocort, Qnasal)
- Nasal antihistamine sprays (Astelin, Patanol,)
- Oral antihistamines (Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec, Clarinex)
Since the nasal septum is composed of bone and cartilage, medications are only effective in cases where patients also suffer from allergic rhinitis, chronic sinusitis, and/or nasal congestion. Surgical repair of the septum, also known as septoplasty, is the best option to correct the unwanted deviation. The procedure involves gently repositioning the deviated, or deflected, parts of cartilage into a more natural midline position to alleviate nasal blockage and allow the sinuses to drain.
- Minimally invasive
- No scars
- No nasal packing required
- Minimal discomfort
- Can be performed with Balloon Sinuplasty at the same time
In some instances, the deviated septum is so severe that it causes a “crooked nose” deformity. Although this can result from trauma, many patients are born with the problem, and seek corrective treatment. We recommend rhinoplasty with septoplasty, also known as septorhinoplasty, to effectively treat the problem.