“Are you sick? Do you have a cold?” Life with chronic allergies and sinusitis means daily questions about your health. Over-the-counter medications and home remedies do nothing for this year-round problem. Ran Y. Rubenstein, an expert allergist of Hudson Valley, NY, writes that allergies occur because of an overreaction by your immune system to something in your environment.
There are several different types of allergies. Inhaling pollen, mold, dust mites or pet dander can trigger an allergic reaction from people who suffer from inhaled allergies. People with allergies to grass and tree pollen typically see an increase in allergy symptoms in the spring, when flowers and trees begin to bloom. If your allergies last all year, you may suffer from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hayfever.
If you experience these symptoms, you may have allergies:
- Runny nose
- Red, itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Sinus pressure
- Sore or itchy throat
When should I see a doctor?
If over-the-counter treatments aren’t working, then it’s time to see an allergist discuss your treatment options. Successful treatment of allergies is a multi-step process, including a dive into your medical history and running a skin test. The doctor will scratch your skin and apply potential allergens to each mark. After a short wait, the doctor will check to see which areas have become inflamed. Once the doctor has determined what you allergic to, he can recommend your treatment options, which may include allergy shots and prescription medications.
The doctor also may perform a brief examination to look at the structure of your nose and sinuses. During this examination, he’ll note structural issues that may be causing your allergies, including a deviated septum. If you have a deviated septum, the cartilage in your nose is crooked, which can cause difficulty breathing. If you frequently feel like one side of your nose is blocked, then you may have a deviated septum.
Many people have a deviated septum that does not require treatment. However, if you suffer from allergies, your nasal passages may be making it worse!
Deviated Septum Symptoms
Signs that your deviated septum needs treatment:
- Frequent sinus infections
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Chronic headaches
- Other sleep difficulties
If you experience any of these symptoms, then surgery may be necessary to reduce your allergy symptoms. Commonly called a nose job, this procedure can refer to:
- A septoplasty, which fixes a deviated septum
- A rhinoplasty, which reshapes the entire nose
What happens during a nose job?
A septoplasty may be performed under local anesthesia in some circumstances, but most patients can expect to be under general anesthesia. General anesthesia will allow you to be comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. On average, a septoplasty can take up to 90 minutes.
During the procedure, the doctor peels away the mucous membrane that covers the septum. At this point, the doctor will be able to see what is causing the blockage, such as cartilage or bone. This can be reshaped or removed to open up the airway. Then, the mucous membrane is reattached and held by stitches, a splint or packing material. Patients may be released from the hospital on the same day.
Other procedures may be performed during a septoplasty to maximize the results. Nasal turbinates, the thin bones inside of the nose that regulate air temperature, can swell due to allergies. This swelling may contribute to breathing problems. A rhinoplasty is a more extensive survey that may involve the skin, bone, and cartilage. With rhinoplasty, you can expect improved breathing and a new look.
What can I expect during recovery
When you wake up from surgery, you may have packing material in your nose to help with bleeding and healing time. Swelling and bruising are also normal. Breathing may be more difficult as your nose heals. You may experience mucous and blood draining from your nose. Pain medication may help manage any soreness and inflammation. Recovery time varies depending on the extent of the procedure.
Will this surgery help my allergies? A septoplasty or rhinoplasty is just one tool for treating allergies. Recent studies show that patients reported a higher quality of life and lower instances of sleep apnea and allergies after surgery. Used in conjunction with immunotherapy and medication, surgery can provide you with maximum results.