If you regularly have trouble breathing through your nose, it could be more than allergies. You could have a deviated septum, which is the most common cause of chronic nasal obstruction. Functional nasal surgery, formally called “septoplasty,” can straighten out a deviated septum to create more open nasal airways so that you can breathe more easily.
What Is a Deviated Septum?
The nasal septum is a wall of bone and cartilage between the two sides of the nose. This piece of anatomy runs all the way from the floor of the nose to the bridge and down to the nasal tip. In a “perfect” nose, the septum is straight, but for many individuals, the septum is deviated or crooked. This deviation may be caused by an injury or may be present from birth, and many people are unaware that they have a deviated septum or what may have caused it. Many people have a mildly deviated septum and no problems with nasal breathing. However, a deviated septum can be severe enough to cause perpetual nasal blockage on one side that prevents your ability to inhale freely.
How to Fix a Deviated Septum
A deviated septum that causes no problems may not need to be corrected, although the septum can be straightened during a routine rhinoplasty procedure. However, a deviated septum that does interfere with nasal breathing should be corrected with septoplasty. First, the condition must be diagnosed through careful examination of the inside of the nose. Once a deviated septum has been diagnosed, a surgical plan will be put into place.
Patients can undergo septoplasty on its own or with rhinoplasty. If they choose to undergo septoplasty without rhinoplasty, there will be a functional improvement but no aesthetic changes to the nose. Patients who undergo a septorhinoplasty (septoplasty with rhinoplasty) will have both functional and aesthetic improvements to the nose. Insurance companies may cover all or a portion of deviated septum surgery, but they are not likely to cover the cost of rhinoplasty.
Correction With Septoplasty Surgery
Septoplasty usually uses a closed surgical approach. The crooked cartilage of the septum and bone are moved, removed, reshaped, or scored to straighten the septum. If patients undergo a septorhinoplasty, the surgical approach may be open or closed and will include straightening the septum as well as adjusting the appearance of the nose. In this case, patients will be able to enjoy improved nasal breathing in addition to all the cosmetic benefits of rhinoplasty, such as a more refined nasal tip, a straighter bridge, reduced nasal size, correction of bumps or depressions, and other aesthetic concerns.
Even if a deviated septum has not affected nasal breathing in the past, Dr. Pearlman will always correct it for his rhinoplasty patients by also performing a septoplasty. Adjusting the nasal tissues can cause a deviated septum to become symptomatic and create a blockage, which is why the issue should be corrected once diagnosed to avoid any possibility of a new problem. Most patients who undergo septoplasty experience long-lasting improvements to their nasal breathing.
Deviated septum surgery can straighten the nasal septum to open the nasal airways and improve inhalation. If desired, the procedure can be combined with rhinoplasty for both functional and aesthetic benefits. To learn more about this procedure, request your personal consultation with Dr. Steven Pearlman. Dr. Pearlman is our advanced rhinoplasty surgeon with dual board certification in facial plastic surgery, and he would be pleased to perform your nose surgery to help you achieve your desired results. To request your appointment, call (212) 223-8300 or contact us online today.