What is a Deviated Septum?
A septum is described as a wall of bone and cartilage between two chambers. You will find that this tends to be normally associated with the nose or nasal cavity. A deviated septum means in the most basic terms that the septum is in the wrong place, it is situated in the wrong place. It is not in the middle of the nose, it could be to one side or to an angle. It can be treated perfectly successfully with the aid of surgery. You may find that it causes issues with breathing and nasal discharge which in turn can cause reoccurring cases of sinusitis.
What causes a Deviated Septum?
You will find that it will normally be an ear, nose and throat specialist who will be able to diagnose a Deviated Septum and give you advice as to how they will deal with it. An ENT specialist will also be able to enlighten you on the causes of this condition, giving you some idea how it came about.There are a few causes for a Deviated Septum they are:-
- You may find that a Deviated Septum can be the result of a fetal abnormality, developing before your baby is fully formed.
- Injury to the nose can cause a Deviated Septum, like a broken nose for example where the septum can be knocked out of its normal position. An injury such as this can occur during childbirth, but as we grow up and age anything from falling off your bike and hitting your nose, to boxing matches, to tripping, bumping into someone in the street or contact sports. Contact sports, active play, rough housing and automobile sports are where damage to the nose tends to come about the most often.
- Normal aging can also be a cause a Deviated Septum as the wall of the nasal passage weakens over a period of time.
What are the signs of a Deviated Septum?
One of the most common signs of Deviated Septum is nasal congestion. This will show itself as:-
- Loud snoring during the night.
- An inability to breathe with ease through the nose, as though you have a blocked up nose.
- Repeatedly suffering from sinusitis and other nasal infections.
- Facial pain due to the infections and the congestion.
- Postnasal drip, which means you have an excess of nasal mucus collected in the back of your throat or nose. It basically drips into your throat making that you need to clear your throat often, tickles your throat and can cause you to cough often.
- Sleep apnea. This is when the sufferer stops breathing for a short time, or very shallow breathing during sleep. When breathing resumes it can cause the sufferer to jump sharply causing interrupted sleep. It can happen only a few times an hour to up to 30 times an hour.
- Nosebleeds. If you get regular nose bleeds then go and see a doctor.
Sometimes the signs of a Deviated Septum are not known until the sufferer has a bad cold, the reason for this is that when a person has a bad cold the nasal passages tend to swell; it is the inflammation in the nose that then causes the sufferer to suffer congestion more than a normal person with a bad cold. This is when the condition can be highlighted.
How is a Deviated Septum diagnosed?
If a patient has sinusitis on a regular basis, then the GP or doctor will want to look into the reason why the sinusitis is re-occurring so often. General practitioners are not always aware of the fact that you have a Deviated Septum so they will refer you to someone who knows more about the nasal passages such as an Ear, Nose and throat specialist (ENT) for a more detailed diagnosis. You are likely to be asked a few questions and do some investigating in order that the doctor can find out what is going on such as:-
- · Have you had any nasal traumas or injuries?
- · Ask if you have had any previous nasal surgery, as this can be a cause for the condition.
- · A visual examination of your nasal septum to see if there are any obvious signs of a Deviated Septum.
- · Shine a light up your nose to see if there is any obvious obstruction, for example in a child, if there is anything that your child has pushed up his nose.
In some cases, these may not be the only examinations and tests that will be performed. But if the doctor is able to diagnose the fact that you have a Deviated Septum then he may suggest surgery for you to have it corrected, although a Deviated Septum can be relieved with the help of medications rather than surgery.
Deviated Septum Surgery, tell me more.
Firstly, Septoplasty is the name of the operation or surgical procedure that you will be undergoing if you are referred for surgery. You will normally have this procedure when one of the nasal cavities is invaded by the septum which is the wall in the nasal passage. It takes less than an hour normally to perform this procedure that does not include the recovery time.
This operation can happen under a general anesthetic or a local anesthetic, there are no external incisions, which means that there are no visible scars. The surgeon works through the nostrils to gain access to the septum where he then makes an incision in the lining of the wall of the septum; this is so that he can reach the required cartilage. After the surgeon has straightened your septum, he may use plastic splints or tubes stitched in place to offer a level of support.
Now that the operation has been completed you will be pleased that there is no evidence that there has been an operation performed in the first place, there is no swelling or discoloration caused by bruising, but you may find that the splint is left in place within your nose for a few days. But there is no visible evidence of this. It is extremely rare, but 1% roughly of Septoplasty patients will suffer from an excessive level of bleeding post operation which may cause you to require a cauterization of the nose.
There are very few risks to this operation, but if you do suffer from any of the risks then these are:-
- Lack of ability to smell.
- Hole (perforation) of the septum
If you suffer from such a condition, then until you get the help that you need, a bit of further reading which may help you would be to read up on natural sinusitis remedies and decongestant remedies which are also of the natural kind