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Category: Septoplasty

Deviated Septum Surgery

Deviated Septum DiagramIf 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.

Do I Need Septoplasty or Rhinoplasty?

When most people think of nose surgery, they are thinking of rhinoplasty, which is a surgical procedure that can improve the appearance of the nose. Another lesser-known nose surgery is septoplasty, which is a surgical procedure that can improve functionality (i.e., breathing) of the nose. These two nose surgeries can produce highly satisfying results and may even be performed together as a septorhinoplasty to enhance both the appearance and function of the nose.


Septoplasty is a nose surgery that specifically improves nasal breathing by correcting a deviated septum. A deviated septum occurs when the wall between the two sides of the nose becomes crooked, most commonly due to an injury or trauma during birth. While a mildly deviated septum is common, some people suffer from perpetual blockage of one side of the nose and cannot breathe as easily as they should. Septoplasty can straighten a deviated septum and create more open airways for nasal breathing. An important difference between rhinoplasty and septoplasty is that if you are ONLY getting a septoplasty, there will be no change whatsoever to the outside of your nose—no cast and no black-and-blue eyes.

Before and After RhinoplastyRhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is a nose surgery that specifically improves the appearance of the nose. This procedure may lengthen the nose, widen it, strengthen or straighten the nasal bridge, correct the angle of the nose, adjust the shape or size of the nasal tip, or perform a number of other aesthetic improvements. Rhinoplasty can make the nose appear more balanced and aesthetically pleasing in comparison to the other facial features.

Key Differences

  • Purpose: Septoplasty achieves functional restoration, whereas rhinoplasty achieves cosmetic improvement.
  • Adjustments: Septoplasty alters the septum and inner nasal structures, whereas rhinoplasty alters the structures that affect the outer appearance.
  • Surgical Technique: Septoplasty uses endonasal techniques inside the nose, whereas rhinoplasty can use a closed or open surgical approach.
  • Scarring: Septoplasty leaves no noticeable scarring, whereas rhinoplasty (if using the open surgical approach) may leave an inconspicuous scar at the base of the nose.
  • Insurance Coverage: Septoplasty may be partially or fully covered by insurance, whereas rhinoplasty is not usually covered by insurance.


Dr. Pearlman will examine every patient for a deviated septum even if they are only seeking rhinoplasty. This is because adjustments made during the rhinoplasty procedure may lead to more nasal blockage in patients with a mildly deviated septum, which can aggravate breathing issues and create a need for septoplasty in the future. To correct a deviated septum and perform desired aesthetic changes, Dr. Pearlman can perform a septorhinoplasty, which includes septoplasty and rhinoplasty as one operation.

If you are interested in undergoing septoplasty, rhinoplasty, or septorhinoplasty, schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Steven J. Pearlman. Dr. Pearlman is dual board certified in both facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (Ear Nose and Throat), and he would be pleased to help you achieve your goals with nose surgery. Call 212-223-8300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your consultation with Dr. Pearlman today.

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