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What Causes a Deviated Septum?

What Causes a Deviated Septum?

If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, or it looks like the internal structure has a few kinks in it, you may have a deviated septum. The septum is the thin wall of cartilage that separates your nostrils. In a perfectly straight nose, the septum is in the center, dividing the nostrils equally. However, in some cases, the septum is displaced to one side, causing breathing problems. The American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery estimates that 80% of all septums are less than straight.

Enter Robert A. Guida, MD, our board-certified physician specializing in septum repair and nasal obstruction surgeries. Dr. Guida has years of experience in diagnosing and treating deviated septums, bringing relief to many patients in Staten Island and New York, New York.

How did I get a deviated septum?

The two primary causes of a deviated septum are acute trauma and genetics.

1. Acute trauma

Trauma can be caused by a blow to the nose, an accident, or even childbirth. These injuries can displace the septum, causing it to lean to one side.

2. Genetics

Some people are born with a deviated septum. In some cases, this may be fine. However, as a person ages, the deviated septum may become more pronounced, causing breathing problems.

Symptoms of a deviated septum

The most common symptoms of a deviated septum include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important.

Treatments for a deviated septum

There are several treatments for a deviated septum, depending on the severity of your condition. If you have a mild case and don’t mind the cosmetic issue, we can prescribe nasal decongestants or antihistamines to alleviate your symptoms. However, surgery may be necessary if your deviated septum causes significant breathing problems.

Dr. Guida specializes in septum repair surgery (septoplasty), which involves straightening the septum and improving airflow through the nostrils. The procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis and has a very high success rate. Here’s what to expect:

Administering the anesthesia

We start by giving you anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the surgical procedure. The type of anesthesia administered ranges from intravenous sedation to general anesthesia, and Dr. Guida selects the appropriate option.

Making the incision 

If you undergo septoplasty alone and not combined with another procedure, Dr. Guida makes the incisions inside your nasal cavity. When dealing with a challenging septoplasty or when performed alongside a rhinoplasty, he may make an incision across the columella — the narrow strip of tissue separating your nostrils.

Separating the mucosal lining 

Dr. Guida carefully lifts away one side of the nasal mucosal lining (the membrane that covers the septum surface) to prevent damage to the fragile tissue. He then repeats this critical step on the other side.

Correcting the deviated septum 

Once the mucosal lining is safe, Dr. Guida removes or repairs the deviated septum, including bone and/or cartilage.

Closing the incision 

With the septum aligned in the desired position, Dr. Guida repositions the nasal mucosal lining around it and sutures it back together.

Revealing your results

Your newly structured septum takes some time to heal, but you should be able to see the initial results right away since Dr. Guida doesn’t typically apply splints or packing unless you’ve had rhinoplasty, too. The interior sutures used during the procedure dissolve over time.

If you suffer from a deviated septum, don't live with the discomfort any longer. Contact Robert A. Guida, MD, by calling either office or by booking online to schedule a consultation, and experience relief.

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