Though 80% of people have a deviated septum, it's usually so minor that they don't have symptoms. If your deviated septum makes it hard to breathe or causes congestion, it's time to consult with the physicians at Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, with offices in Chelmsford, Woburn, and Concord, Massachusetts, and Nashua and Derry, New Hampshire. They specialize in repairing the septum and restoring a normal, healthy nasal function. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office or book online today.
The septum is a structure made of cartilage and bone that runs down the center of your nose, dividing the right and left nostrils. When the septum is off-center or crooked, you have a deviated septum.
Many people have a minor deviated septum that doesn't cause symptoms. However, a severe deviation blocks the airways and often causes a visibly crooked nose.
Though a nose injury can cause a deviated septum, many people have the problem without ever suffering a broken nose or other trauma.
In addition to making it hard to breathe, a deviated septum may increase your risk of developing infections like sinusitis. Even without an infection, a deviated septum alone causes symptoms such as:
Severe symptoms may make it hard to get a good night's sleep.
A minor deviation that causes occasional congestion may only need over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, or anti-inflammatory sprays. Though these medications relieve your symptoms, they don't treat the deviated septum.
People with a severe deviation or who have difficult symptoms have one treatment option: surgery to correct the deviated septum. That type of surgery is called septoplasty.
Septoplasty is a procedure to straighten the septum and secure it in the center of your nose. Your Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates provider removes the membrane covering the septum. They carefully preserve the membrane because it delivers blood to the septum.
Then they reshape the septum, trimming away the crooked cartilage or bone and using a small bone graft or cartilage replacement when needed. After repositioning the septum, they put the membrane back in place.
The procedure takes about 30-90 minutes, and you go home the same day. You may have splints or soft packing inside your nose to hold the septum in place and prevent nosebleeds while it heals. The packing comes out in 1-3 days, while the splints stay in 1-2 weeks.
Whether you're embarrassed by a crooked nose or you have ongoing congestion, the team at Massachusetts Ear, Nose and Throat Associates can safely treat your deviated septum. Call the nearest office or book an appointment online today.