Can A Deviated Septum Cause Trouble Breathing?
A deviated septum can cause trouble breathing if severe enough. Mild septal deviations may also contribute to impaired breathing when combined with other sinus conditions like enlarged inferior turbinates, allergies, and sinus infections.
How Is Deviated Septum Surgery (Nasal Septoplasty) Performed?
Nasal septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed for nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum. In properly selected patients, the outcome of this procedure can offer remarkable relief of symptoms. Septal deviation surgery is typically performed using general anesthesia. Local anesthesia may also be used to alleviate discomfort immediately following deviated septum surgery. All incisions are made intra-nasally (in the nose). Mucoperichondrial flaps are raised on the left and right sides of the septum. The septal deviation is often removed or fractured back into midline when possible; this repositioning can restore symmetry to the septum and improve airflow. The flaps are then placed back down and secured with a mattress suture. Septal splints are generally not used as they can cause significant pain and discomfort. Learn more about septoplasty surgery by clicking here.
What Can I Expect Following Deviated Septum Surgery?
Following septal deviation surgery, patients may experience nasal congestion for 1-3 weeks as the body heals. A nasal drip pad may be required for the first few days to catch any mild bleeding. The drip pad may need to be changed more frequently in the first few days following surgery. Some patients may experience numbness of their teeth which typically resolves over time. Narcotic pain medicine may be required for 2-3 days on average, but varies by patient. There should be no external bruising or swelling following your septal deviation surgery because all incisions are made inside the nose.
You should avoid blowing your nose as much as possible following deviated septum surgery. If you need to blow your nose to relieve pressure, then light nose blowing is advised. Any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise should be avoided until permitted by your septal deviation surgeon. Follow-up appointments will be made so Dr. Shin can monitor your recovery following your deviated septum surgery. The exact healing period and postoperative course will vary depending on the specifics of your procedure.
Will Fixing My Deviated Septum Reduce The Number Of Colds Or Sinus Infections I Get?
If you are experiencing reoccurring sinus infections, Dr. Shin can evaluate whether you might benefit from other procedures to reduce the frequency and severity of infections. These procedures focus on dilating or opening the sinus drainage pathways to allow for a faster resolution of the infection and inflammation. However, deviated septum surgery can help you to breathe better when you do get an upper respiratory infection and thus be able to tolerate a cold much better until its resolution.
What Are Some Common Deviated Septum Treatments?
Dr. Shin will use a nasal endoscope to evaluate why you are having trouble breathing through your nose. Endoscopic technology allows Dr. Shin to see real-time imaging of your nasal passageways and sinuses for a more efficient diagnosis.
If your deviated septum is mild and does not cause airflow blockage, typically no treatment is needed. If obstruction is more fixed, intermittent, or alternating, then deviated septum treatment is initially focused on trials of nasal saline sprays and nasal steroid sprays. These treatments may not be effective depending on the severity of your deviated septum. For patients who have more severe cases that do not respond to nasal sprays and non-invasive treatments, septal deviation surgery is an option to improve breathing.
Can Septal Deviation Surgery Be Combined With Other Procedures To Improve Breathing?
Deviated septum surgery is often paired with turbinate reduction to improve airflow and breathing function. Enlarged turbinates are a common anatomical defect that can obstruct the nasal cavity. Nasal turbinates are located inside the nose and help humidify and filter the air that passes through the nostrils. If these turbinates are enlarged due to inflammation, infection, or allergies, then they can further block the nasal cavity. Septal deviation surgery and turbinate reduction can be combined to address multiple nasal obstructions at once. Learn more about turbinate reduction by clicking here.
Will Fixing My Deviated Septum Improve My Allergies?
Deviated septal surgery is primarily anatomical, but will not improve or cure allergies. Allergies can often be controlled with over-the-counter or prescription nasal and oral medications. A simple, effective treatment for nasal allergies is to use the Clarifix device. When combined with septoplasty and turbinate reduction, it can be very effective for improving the nasal airway and markedly reducing nasal allergy symptoms. Learn more about allergy treatments by clicking here.
Will Fixing My Deviated Septum Improve My Snoring And Quality Of Sleep?
Generally speaking, fixing a deviated septum may not improve snoring or quality of sleep, but some patients undergoing this procedure may see improvements in both. If you are experiencing sleep disruptions, sleep apnea, or loud snoring, Dr. Shin can help diagnose and treat your snoring and sleep apnea issues. Learn more about sleep apnea and snoring treatments by clicking here.