Signs of Deviated Septum & Deviated Septum Surgery | PreferredMD
Plastic Surgery

Signs of Deviated Septum & Deviated Septum Surgery

Condition • By Biraj Patel

A deviated septum is a common medical condition that affects the nasal passage, causing the thin wall between the nostrils to be displaced to one side. This misalignment can lead to various uncomfortable symptoms and may require medical intervention.

What causes deviated septum?

A deviated septum can be present at birth or result from an injury to the nose. Some main causes include congenital deviation, trauma or injury, and aging.

Congenital deviation 

Some individuals are born with a deviated septum due to a misalignment that occurs during fetal development.

Trauma or injury

Any significant impact or injury to the nose, such as a sports injury or accident, can cause the septum to shift from its normal position.


As people age, the nasal structure may naturally change, leading to a deviated septum in some cases.

Signs of a deviated septum

Detecting a deviated septum can be crucial for timely intervention. Look out for the following signs:

  • Nasal congestion: One of the most common symptoms of deviated septum is chronic nasal congestion, which can make breathing through one or both nostrils difficult.
  • Frequent nosebleeds: The irregular airflow and dryness caused by a deviated septum may lead to recurrent nosebleeds.
  • Facial pain: Some individuals may experience facial pain or headaches, especially around the nasal area.
  • Snoring and sleep issues: A deviated septum can disrupt normal breathing during sleep, leading to snoring and potential sleep disturbances.
  • Postnasal drip: Excess mucus production caused by the deviated septum can result in postnasal drip, leading to a sore throat and coughing.

How serious is a deviated septum?

While a deviated septum may not always be life-threatening, it can significantly affect an individual's quality of life. Severe cases may lead to chronic health issues, making it essential to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Deviated septum risk factors

Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing a deviated septum. If you have a family history of deviated septum, you may have an increased risk of developing the condition. 

Also, people who engage in contact sports or have experienced accidents that involve nasal trauma are more prone to developing a deviated septum.

Deviated septum prevention

While it may not be possible to prevent a congenital deviated septum, you can reduce the risk of further complications by taking these steps:

  • If you participate in sports or activities that could result in nasal injury, wearing protective gear such as helmets can help minimize the risk.
  • Avoid picking or inserting objects into your nose to reduce the chances of nasal damage.

How to fix deviated septum?

Medical management of a deviated septum

In mild cases of a deviated septum, medical management may be sufficient to alleviate symptoms. This approach focuses on controlling the associated symptoms and includes the following:

  • Decongestants: Over-the-counter or prescription decongestants can help reduce nasal swelling and improve airflow temporarily.
  • Antihistamines: These medications can be used to manage allergic reactions that may exacerbate the symptoms of a deviated septum.
  • Nasal corticosteroids: Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids can reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and alleviate congestion and discomfort.
  • Nasal irrigation: Rinsing the nasal passages with saline solution can help keep the nasal passages moist and remove excess mucus, providing relief.

Deviated septum surgery (Septoplasty)

In cases where medical management proves ineffective or symptoms are severe, septoplasty may be recommended. This surgical procedure is performed by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist or a plastic surgeon. 

Deviated septum surgery typically involves the following steps:

  • The surgeon makes an incision inside the nose to access the septum.
  • The deviated septum is carefully repositioned, straightening it to improve airflow and nasal function.
  • In some cases, the surgeon may need to trim or reshape the septal cartilage to achieve the desired correction.
  • Once the necessary adjustments are made, the incision is closed, and the healing process begins.

Septoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, and patients can typically return home on the same day. Recovery time varies, but most individuals can resume their normal activities within a few days to a week.

Consequences of untreated deviated septum

Leaving a deviated septum untreated can lead to various complications, like chronic sinusitis, sleep disorders, and a decreased quality of life.

Chronic sinusitis 

The obstructed nasal passages can trap mucus, leading to recurring sinus infections.

Sleep disorders

Sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders may develop due to continued breathing difficulties during sleep.

Decreased quality of life

Chronic congestion and discomfort can negatively impact one's overall quality of life, affecting work performance and emotional well-being.

Consult with the best ENT and plastic surgery specialists on PreferredMD

A deviated septum can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms and may impact daily life. Recognizing the signs, understanding the causes, and seeking timely medical attention can help individuals manage the condition effectively. 

Whether through medical management or septoplasty, addressing a deviated septum can lead to improved breathing, reduced symptoms, and a better overall quality of life.

PreferredMD offers patients access to the best surgeons and physicians in the country. Our provider network comprises hand-selected specialists that have been thoroughly evaluated by their peers and patients.

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