What is nasal septum deviation? : It is the bending of the septum, which consists of bone and cartilage and divides the nasal cavity into two parts, to one side or to both sides.
What are the causes? Nasal septum deviation may be caused by blows taken on the nose, falling, disproportionate development of bones during formation of facial structure, blows taken during infancy, and traumas at birth.
Nasal septum deviation is a widely known factor behind nasal blockage. Nasal blockage may be perceived more frequently at night. It may cause some discomforts such as sleeping mouth open, snoring, dry mouth upon waking up, burning sensation, quick exhaustion, headache, post-nasal drainage, coughing.
Inconveniences of nasal septum deviation: It hinders breathing easily due to nasal blockage. Moreover, humidity and temperature of the inhaled air cannot be adjusted due to respiration through the mouth, which may pave the way for chronic pharyngitis. It may cause sinusitis by interrupting normal operation of sinuses, and laryngitis or bronchitis by triggering post-nasal drainage. It may cause lung and heart illnesses due to reduced oxygen intake especially duringadvanced ages, and prolongs the healing period.
How is nasal septum deviation diagnosed? After listening to your complaints, your doctor asks you if you had any trauma or operation regarding your nose. Later, your doctor examines nasal cavity and checks position of the septum. This process is carried on by a tool, which enlarges your nasal wings without any complication, or, if required, by and optical device called endoscope. Any other examination is often not required for nasal septum deviation diagnosis. However, your doctor may ask for other tests and laboratory researchesif she thinks that your complaints are related to other factors such as sinusitis or allergy.
How is it treated? : Since the cartilage (septum cartilage,quadrangular cartilage) in the middle of the nose cavity is not straight for most people, small deviations that do not disturb the patient do not necessitate treatment. However, problematic deviations must be treated, and the only way for this treatment is surgery.
Is there any age restriction for septoplasty operations? Surgical treatment of septum deviations diagnosed during childhood is not performed before the age of 18 in order to avoid damaging facial bone development and facial development centers. Development centers are inactive in adulthood, and septoplasty surgeries do not impair facial features.
How is the surgery performed? : In nasal septum deviation surgery, bended segments on the bone and on the cartilage are straightened. The segments that cannot be straightened are removed.
Is the surgery difficult for patient? It is accepted as an easy operation due to the last developments in surgery techniques. However, it should not be forgotten that it is still a surgery. Both local anesthesia and general anesthesia carry some risks, although such risks are extensively reduced lately. Operation duration is estimated to be 1 hour, but it may vary. A tamp is plugged in the patient’s nose after the surgery, and it stays there for about 2 to 5 days. The tamp may cause headache or difficulty in sleeping. After the tamp is removed, the patient carries on her normal life.
What complications may arise during the surgery? : The complication ratio for septum deviation surgeries is extremely low. Seldom, a small hole on the septum of the nose remains after the operation, but it causes no inconvenience for the patient. If excessive amounts of bone and cartilage are removed from the nasal cavity, a dent on the nose ridge may occur. Thus, experienced ear nose throat surgeons should carry out the operation.