Is it important to fix a deviated septum?
- Posted on: May 7 2019
You may have been told by your doctor that you have a deviated septum. You may not really understood what that means or why it matters. You may have heard the procedure to fix your deviated septum is painful and has a long recovery period. We will address all of these issues in this blog.
What is a septum?
The word septum comes from a Greek word that means divider. The nasal septum is the divider that separates the right side of the nose from the left side of the nose. It starts at the entrance of the nose and runs the length of the nose, all the way back to the common space at the back of the nose called the nasopharynx.
The septum is made of a mucus lining on each side and a middle layer that is composed of cartilage and bone.
What does the septum do?
You can think of the nasal septum as designed to absorb impacts like the front crumple zone on a car. By absorbing impacts, it protects the important structures like the brain behind it. Unfortunately, when it absorbs an impact, it can be pushed into the right or left nasal cavity, causing obstruction of the nasal airway. This obstruction of the nasal airway makes it difficult to breathe and can predispose to sinus infections.
The ability to breathe clearly is important to daytime activities, such as exercise, as we are much more short of breath when we are forced to mouth breathe. The lack of humidification, filtration, and warming of the air that the nasal breathing can provide, results in poor oxygen delivery and exchange in the lungs.
The ability to breathe clearly is also important for sleeping. When we are congested and mouth breathing at night, we are much more likely to snore, have poor quality non-restorative sleep, and have sleep apnea. This can affect how we function during the day and our longterm health.
How do you know if you have a deviated septum?
A miniCT scan in our office can easily diagnose if you have a deviated septum and if there is associated chronic sinus issues.
How is a deviated septum corrected?
Nowadays, the deviated septum can be easily corrected with a septoplasty, along with non-surgical balloon sinuplasty. This simple procedure is usually performed in our office under IV sedation and only takes 15 minutes. The procedure is performed to make the nasal airway nice and open again. This modern technique does not involve all the negatives of the traditional procedure. There is no packing or splinting, or black and blue, or bruising. Most patients are able to work the next day and will not require pain medication.
If you have a deviated septum, difficulty breathing affecting exercise and sleep, and associated sinus complaints, come for a consultation today to see how these issues can be easily corrected with the modern approach.
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Posted in: Deviated Septum