How to Tell if You Have a Deviated Septum

Are you tired of pounding headaches, sinus congestion, and nosebleeds? Are you tired of wondering if you’re sick or just having another bad allergy day? Do you wake up in the morning feeling groggy because of nighttime stuffiness? If sinus congestion is affecting your life, then structural issues inside your nose may be causing the problem.

What is a deviated septum?

Inside of your nose, bone and cartilage divide your nose into two nasal passages. This is called the septum. A mucous membrane filled with blood vessels covers the septum. When the septum is crooked, it can cause one nasal passage to be very narrow or even blocked.

You may have been born with a deviated septum, or it may have been caused by an injury. Approximately 70 percent of people have a deviated septum that can be detected through an examination. However, not all deviated septums create symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?

The symptoms of a deviated septum are:

  • Blockage of one or both nostrils
  • Nasal congestion (may be limited to one side)
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Postnasal drip
  • Dry mouth
  • Mouth breathing
  • Noisy breathing during sleep

If you frequently experience one or more of these symptoms, you may have a deviated septum.

How is it treated?

You may have treated your congestion with over-the-counter medications and allergy shots, but these treatments only attack the symptoms. Dr. Marcelo Ghersi, a rhinoplasty expert in Miami, mentions that a functional rhinoplasty can correct breathing problems created by a deviated septum.

When patients think of a nose job, they imagine picking a new nose out of a catalog, based on physical appearance alone. In reality, rhinoplasty is a procedure that will be customized to your unique appearance and physical needs. A cosmetic nose job focuses on correcting the exterior appearance of your nose, while a functional nose job focuses more on correcting issues like a deviated septum. A nose job is a good choice for when other treatments, like a septoplasty, have not led to the desired results.

What can I expect during a nose job?

Before your rhinoplasty, you will be placed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the procedure. The surgeon may make an incision in the bridge of the nose. To fix the deviated septum, the doctor will peel back the mucous membrane and mold the cartilage until it is straight. Additional cartilage from deep inside the nose or from other locations on the body may be used to shape the nose.

Then, the surgeon will return to the tissue and skin to the proper location and stitch the area closed.

What can I expect during the recovery period?

You may experience these symptoms:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Nasal congestion
  • Drainage (both blood and mucous)
  • Bruising around the eyes
  • Discoloration

How to speed up your recovery

There are some things you can do to aid in your recovery. Your primary goal after surgery is to reduce bleeding and swelling. Avoid pulling clothing over your head, taking showers or any other activity that could involve contact with your face. You will need to sleep sitting up to reduce swelling.

A high-fiber, low-sodium diet can help reduce swelling and aid in recovery. If you wear glasses, you will need to avoid wearing them for at least four weeks.

Recent studies have shown that a solution of hyaluronic acid applied after surgery may reduce mucus drainage. Ask your doctor about this option.

Your doctor will provide you with detailed instructions for your situation. Always follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure maximum comfort and the best results. If you don’t understand the instructions or have follow-up questions, please ask!

Will I have the perfect nose after surgery?

Your nose will change over time, even without a rhinoplasty. If you suffer from a deviated septum, we look for improvement, not perfection. After a rhinoplasty, patients report improved breathing, which leads to an improved quality of life. You may notice that your breathing continues to get better over time, not just in the first few weeks after surgery. A rhinoplasty, in conjunction with other treatments, may help you achieve even better results.


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