Deviated Septum

Deviated septum is a disorder associated with the nasal septum. The condition occurs when thin wall between your nostrils called nasal septum gets displaced on the either side. In many individuals the anomaly cause deviated or displaced septum making either of the nasal passages smaller. When the disorder is severe in nature it can also significantly block one side of the nose causing respiratory difficulties. Deviated thin wall of the nose along with dehydration may also cause bleeding or crusting in some individuals. The obstruction of nasal passage can be either due to swollen tissue of the wall or from displaced septum or from both.

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Causes of Deviated Septum

Deviated septum occurs when the cartilage that parts your nostrils is displaced. There are certain possible factors that may cause deviated septum in people.

The condition can be congenital which means it may be present at birth. In such a case septum might have been displaced during development of the fetus in the womb itself. Another possible reason for the condition to develop could be injuries. Any traumatic blow or strain of certain intensity to the nose may lead to displacement of septum. Such injuries in infant may possibly occur at the time of childbirth. In adult and children hurtful accidents may cause septal deviation. Nose injuries are common in contact sport activities like boxing, martial arts, rugby, soccer, football, etc. If the condition is already underlying then ageing may cause it to aggravate. This can also worsen the displacement over time.

Symptoms of Deviated Septum

Most cases of Deviate septum do not cause any associated symptoms; even if symptoms are present patients may fail to notice them. Some of the symptoms that may occur due to septal deformities are:

  • Obstruction: The condition may cause obstruction of either of the nostrils or sometimes both. This makes breathing difficult and the patient breaths more through mouth. This becomes obvious when you also suffer from common cold or allergies that influence nasal passage.
  • Nosebleed: The surface of the lining in your nose may become dry and result in bleeding
  • Pain:  It is believed that displaced septal may also cause facial pain though the matter is being debated.
  • Noisy breath while asleep:  Affected person may have noisy breath while sleeping, especially in newborns and children.
  • Awareness of nasal cycle: In normal cases as well, changes in nasal obstruction of mild level is common. Sometimes one nostril will be obstructed and sometime the other. This is the nasal cycle. This is in fact a normal phenomenon; however, awareness of presence of this occurring is though not normal. If a person can feel this phenomenon then it may be due to underlying septal displacement.
  • One-side sleep: Affected individuals may prefer to sleep on one side as it makes breathing easier; hence, they do this to optimize their breathing through nasal passage.


Doctor may ask about symptoms experienced due to the condition. He may then physically examine the interior of your nose. Doctor may use instrument and bright lights to open the nostril and evaluate the condition. The expert may also use a scope to see deep inside the nasal passage. This scope may have minute camera with bright light on the tip. Decongestant may then be sprayed after checking associated tissues. Based on the evaluation the doctor will further suggest certain diagnosis of the condition to determine the seriousness. You may be referred to an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) specialist if your doctor does not hold excellence in these matters.

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One of the prior focuses of the treatment is to control symptoms. This is done by using decongestant and other medicines. Decongestants are drugs that decrease swelling of the nasal tissues. This would help in dilating the nostrils to allow air to pass freely. These medicines are present in nasal spray form or even pill form. Antihistamines are drugs that aid in preventing allergic reaction and reducing it if existing. Such drugs are also helpful in case of non allergic nasal congestions. Deviated Septum can be handled using nasal steroid spray as it can reduce nasal inflammation and alleviate the obstruction.

Deviated septum surgery and cost

It is said that medication is of temporary help in case of displaced septum. The condition can be permanently treated through a surgery called Septoplasty. Through this surgery the nasal deformity is rectified and septum is repositioned. To do this the surgeon may cut and remove the affected part before he could reinstall it. Most symptoms associated with it can be resolved while for other symptoms treatment may need to be continued further. Septoplasty is not a cosmetic procedure but considered as a functional procedure. Insurance company may cover the procedure and certain parts of the treatment. Usually the cost of septoplasty range from $1000 to $3000 depending of the expertise needed, intensity of the complication and hospital you select. In some cases deviated septum surgery cost may also be as high as $5000.

Deviated septum pictures

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