The nasal septum is the strip or wall of tissue (cartilage and bone) that separates the nasal passages and the nostrils into two sections.
A normal septum is straight, allowing for equal airflow to pass through each passage.
A deviated septum, however, refers to a crooked or offset septum, that makes the nasal passages of unequal width.
Deviated septum can cause many major or minor nasal disruptions, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sleep apnea
- Nasal irritation
- Crusting or bleeding of the nose
Deviated septum is often a condition people are born with, but nasal trauma can also be responsible for offsetting the septum, particularly during childhood, when nasal cartilage is not fully mature.
Do You have it?
Deviated septum is actually an extremely common problem. In fact, many people have very slight crookedness of the septum, but it is not noticeable and does not require attention or cause problems. Severe deviation, however, is another story. Here are some signs you may have a disruptive deviated septum:
- Crooked nose
- Breathing problems
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Regular nasal inflammation, infection, and congestion
- Sleep issues, such as severe snoring or apnea
If any of the above symptoms are interfering with your normal activities or are cropping up enough to be a bother, then it is worth getting a doctor to assess your nose for deviated septum.
Unfortunately, there are only two choices for people with a deviated septum: continue to live with the problem, or have a septoplasty (rhinoplasty specifically to straighten the septum) surgery performed to correct the deformity. For minor deviation, it may not be worth going through surgery if the problem is only an annoyance, but for people who exhibit frequent symptoms from a deviated septum, surgery can be enormously beneficial.
Septoplasty and rhinoplasty are typically very safe surgeries with a recovery time of about 2 weeks. It takes about a year for all swelling to subside, but nearly final results can be seen at about 3-4 months following surgery.
Cosmetic Rhinoplasty Considerations
Rhinoplasty is an extremely complex and versatile procedure, and can be used to correct a number of functional and aesthetic issues. Many people who choose to undergo septoplasty for a deviated septum also elect to have cosmetic changes made at the same time. In the reverse scenario, some people are concerned about the aesthetic appearance of their nose, and discover they have a deviated septum as well, which can be corrected during the rhinoplasty procedure.
If you are interested in cosmetic rhinoplasty along with septoplasty, then take some time to research the procedure and choose a plastic surgeon who thoroughly understands both the functional and cosmetic aspects of the nose. Here are some cosmetic issues that can be improved with cosmetic rhinoplasty:
- Crooked nose
- Hump on the nasal bridge
- Too small or too flat nose
- Too large or too tall nose
- Flaring nostrils
- Undefined tip
Each procedure is customized to the patient, with the goal of a balanced nose that is in harmony with the rest of the facial features.
Septoplasty and rhinoplasty can be expensive complex procedures that many patients can afford to pay for out of pocket. Many people with deviated septum hope to have the procedure covered by insurance, but getting coverage can be tricky. Patients may be able to get septoplasty covered, however it can take a lot of work. If you are relying on insurance, make sure you understand all the policies completely before you move forward.
If you are planning to combine cosmetic rhinoplasty with your septoplasty, then you will have to pay for any cosmetic changes yourself. No insurance company will pay for the cosmetic portion of the surgery, which can make getting the rest of the procedure covered more difficult.
If you cannot get insurance coverage or pay out of pocket, nearly all plastic surgeons offer financing, which can allow you to get the surgery you want and need.
Is Septoplasty Right for You?
Only you can decide if septoplasty and/or cosmetic rhinoplasty is right for you. If you would like to move forward and speak to some surgeons about your options, then do your research and meet with a few board certified rhinoplasty experts.
A successful rhinoplasty outcome requires a dedicated, skilled surgeon with the ability to balance aesthetic and functional needs for each patient. If you are looking for top-notch care in the Boston area, come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester(508-363-6500) or Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA, and meet with acclaimed rhinoplasty specialist Dr. Stuart Bentkover.
Dr. Bentkover has spent over 25 years honing his rhinoplasty skills, and is passionate about giving each patient beautiful, natural-looking results. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.