Your nasal cavity is divided in half by bone and cartilage. A deviated septum occurs when that dividing wall becomes off center or crooked. A severe enough deviated septum can cause breathing difficulties and chronic sinus conditions that require treatment.
What Causes a Deviated Septum?
As your Las Vegas otolaryngologist explains it, there are two major causes of a deviated septum. It can occur during birth/fetal development or as a result of trauma or injury. A sports injury or a car accident are the most frequent causes.
What Are Common Symptoms of a Deviated Septum?
While we all like to think of ourselves as perfect, your Las Vegas ENT doctor estimates that only about 20 percent of people have a perfectly straight septum dividing their nasal cavity.
For most others who fall into the 80 percent category, their deviation is slight and can go unnoticed. Only those with the worst cases will have symptoms due to their condition. Symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion (often limited to one side of the nose)
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Sinus infections
- Facial pain and pressure
- Postnasal drip
- Noisy breathing or snoring during sleep
How is a Deviated Septum Treated?
If your deviated septum is not too severe, your Las Vegas doctor will be able to treat your symptoms with medications. To reduce congestion and inflammation you may be prescribed antihistamines, decongestants or nasal steroid sprays.
If medications don’t work, surgery may be needed. The procedure known as a septoplasty repositions a crooked septum and improves breathing. It involves removing excess bone or cartilage in order to create a larger breathing space, and is typically performed in an outpatient setting using local or general anesthesia. A rhinoplasty – surgery to reshape the nose – is often performed at the same time.
Wondering how to prevent a deviated septum? It is easy – protect your nose from injury whenever possible. Wear a helmet or facial protection when playing sports and never ride in a motor vehicle without wearing a seatbelt.
To learn more about a deviated septum or to schedule an appointment with your Las Vegas ENT physician, contact our office today.