Deviated septum

The septum is the structure that divides the nostrils in the middle of the nose. If the nasal septum is deviated from the usual position and is crooked, it can make the nose feel constantly blocked.

What is a deviated septum?

In most people, the septum does not perfectly divide the nose into equal parts. A small deviation from the centre usually causes no symptoms unless the problem is at the nasal valve region. Problems arise only when the deviation blocks airflow through one or both nostrils.

This can happen if the front part of the septum becomes detached from the nasal floor and moves to one side narrowing that nostril. This can restrict or block airflow through the nostrils.

The nasal septum can also bend and take on an S shape. In this case, the tissue is misaligned and it can restrict or block airflow.

What causes a deviated septum?

The most common cause of a deviated septum is injury to the nose. This can happen during birth due to prolonged labour or an assisted delivery. 

Falls or sporting injuries during childhood may result in small, unnoticed fractures. This can cause abnormal growth of the septum. These fractures may result in deviation or collapse of the septum (saddle deformity). However, in many instances, no specific cause can be pinpointed.

What are the main deviated septum symptoms?

Deviated septum symptoms can include difficulty in breathing through the nose and clearing the nose. This often results in a buildup of excess mucus. People with a deviated nasal septum often complain of a constantly blocked nose.

Other symptoms include:

  • Snoring and sleep apnoea (when you stop breathing for a few seconds during your sleep)
  • Difficulty sleeping through the night or only able to sleep on one side
  • Nose bleeds
  • Scabs within the nostrils
  • Dry and sore nose
  • Tiredness during the day

If both nostrils are blocked, this can make it difficult to speak clearly. Eating and swallowing food becomes less pleasurable as the sense of taste can be almost lost.

How do you treat a deviated septum?

It is possible to treat a deviated septum with cosmetic surgery. We offer deviated septum surgery or septoplasty with our cosmetic surgeons and ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultants. If your septum makes your nose feel blocked, this might be an option to cure any breathing difficulties.

Your surgeon will recommend the best pathway for you depending on the shape and size of your nose. The most popular treatments we offer are:

  • Deviated septum surgery (septoplasty)
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Septorhinoplasty 
  • Non-surgical nose job 

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