Complications of a Deviated Septum

If you’re one of the millions of people living with a deviated septum, you know just how frustrating it can be. From frequent nose bleeds to difficulty breathing, this nasal issue makes normal living and breathing a chore. 

You might be tempted to accept your deviated septum as a part of life, but with septoplasty ranking as one of the common ENT procedures in the US, there’s no reason why you can’t also be one of the millions who have found relief.

Our double board-certified plastic and rhinoplasty surgeon, Dr. Robert A. Guida, specializes in addressing your deviated septum, so you can avoid complications down the road. 

Understanding your deviated septum

There’s a thin wall of cartilage that separates your left and right nasal passages. This wall is called your septum. Your septum normally sits at the center of your nose and divides your nostrils evenly; but, when your septum deviates to either side, your nasal passages become much smaller or, in the worst cases, completely blocked. 

Deviated septa are typically congenital, but they can also develop as a result of an injury or increased age. As you get older, your nasal structures begin to fail, which may cause your septum to shift. 

Complications of a deviated septum

Some deviated septa create significant problems, while others are much less bothersome. Either way, there’s always the risk that, if left untreated, it can develop into more consequential health problems. Here are a few of the most common complications of an untreated deviated septum.

Sleeping troubles

With a deviated septum, the air you breathe has to work harder than normal to make its way through your restricted nasal passages, leading to loud breathing and snoring as you sleep. Not only does this irritate anyone sleeping in the room with you, but it can also disrupt your own sleeping patterns, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep. 

There are cases where a deviated septum contributes to sleep apnea — a serious sleep disturbance that causes you to stop breathing as you sleep — or hinders its treatment. 

Difficulty breathing

You may not think about it often, but being able to breathe through your nose comes with a lot of benefits. 

Your nose produces nitric oxide, which helps your lungs absorb and transport oxygen while also relaxing your vascular muscles and dilating your blood vessels. In addition, nitric oxide is “anti-bad guys” — antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antibacterial. 

On top of that, your nose is a natural filter, getting rid of small, harmful particles in the air. Your nose adds moistures to and warms the air you breathe, keeping your lungs healthy and working properly. Nose breathing also creates resistance against your air stream, which increases your lungs’ elasticity.

When you have a deviated septum, breathing through your nose can be next to impossible, causing you to miss out on the flow of nitric oxide and resort to breathing through your mouth. 

Chronic infections

Clogged or restricted nasal passages make you more susceptible to sinus infections. You might have them more frequently or not be able to find relief from them. Repeated infections are not only an inconvenience, they can harm your overall health and wellbeing. 

Frequent nosebleeds

The misalignment from your deviated septum makes it much easier for your nasal membranes to dry out. With nowhere to go, the air wicks away all of the moisture in your nose, which leads to recurring nosebleeds. 

Facial and headache pain

With air struggling to get through your nose, you end up feeling stuffy. That pressure can make your face feel sore and cause your head to throb. 

Treating your deviated septum

There aren’t many conservative treatments for deviated septa. Fortunately, you have access to a highly trained surgeon. 

Dr. Guida begins by assessing the extent of your deviated septum and conducting a full review of your medical history. From there, he creates his surgical plan. Talk to Dr. Guida about combining your deviated septum surgery with rhinoplasty

The procedure itself is quite simple. Dr. Guida creates a single incision inside your nose to correct the misalignment. You won’t even need a splint after the surgery unless you’ve also had rhinoplasty. 

You’ll notice swelling shortly after the surgery that lasts for a couple of weeks. Once this subsides, you’re able to take a full, deep breath of air. 

Don’t let what might seem like a no-big-deal nose problem turn into a nasal nightmare. Join the throngs of people who are breathing freely.

If you’d like more information or would like to get started with a consultation, call our office at either location or schedule an appointment online today.

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