Category Archives: Deviated Septum

Deviated Septum and Children

A deviated septum is a medical condition that is not limited to adults. A deviated septum can occur in many different ways. Some children are born with a deviated septum and others suffer from the condition only after an injury occurs. As the nose grows, the problem with a deviated septum can be more pronounced or become less of a problem depending on the extensiveness of the problem.

Deviated Septum

A deviated septum occurs when the membrane between the two nostrils becomes bent out of position. The membrane between the two nostrils is normally straight which allows the person to breath normally. When the membrane becomes bent or deviated, the septum makes it hard to breath normally. A deviated septum can lead to breathing problems for a child and then can also cause problems with sinus infections and other medical issues.

For young children, the first signs of a deviated septum may be mouth breathing or a perpetually stuffed up nose. Sinus problems, snoring and continued mouth breathing have all been signs of a deviated septum. Children with an extensive problem with a deviated septum may have options for surgery from a young age – especially if it is leading to additional medical problems for the child.

Surgery for a Deviated Septum

Children with a deviated septum that isn’t causing serious medical problems can wait for surgery if necessary as often septoplasty is performed in conjunction with rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is generally performed on patients over the age of sixteen for females and eighteen for males. Most surgeons prefer to wait and patients who wait until they are old enough are able to undergo surgery one time as the nose is finished growing and the surgery will not need to be repeated over time.


Deviated Septum: Is Surgery Necessary?

For patients with a deviated septum, they may have been told for years to either live with the problem or face a complex surgery. For some who would rather avoid a full surgical procedure, they wonder if the deviated septum makes it necessary to undergo surgery or if the situation is one that is tolerable for a lifetime without interference. The short answer to this is: It depends.

The Deviated Septum

A deviated septum is straightforward. There is a wall of bone and cartilage between the two nostrils of the nose. When the top of this wall becomes bent out of position, it partially or fully obstructs an airway. This is called a deviated septum. The more crooked the membrane between the nostrils, the more severe the case of the deviated septum. For some patients with a severe case of a deviated septum, surgery may be the only real alternative.

Symptoms for Surgery

Patients who are not overly affected by a deviated septum are not necessary at need for a surgery. It is those with more substantial symptoms that would best benefit from the procedure.


A deviated septum can lead to many sinus infections. Patients who battle painful sinus pressure and infections stemming from the deviated septum will be sick frequently and only straightening out the septum can the area be opened up correctly to allow for proper drainage and overall health.

Breathing Concerns

We typically breathe through our noses using our mouths as a secondary source of breathing when we have a cold or if we’ve been engaged in strenuous exercise. For those with a severely deviated septum, it is difficult, if not impossible, to breathe through the nose. This makes it medically necessary in many cases for surgeons to open up the airways through surgery for the septum.

Deviated Septum FAQ

While you’ve likely head the term ‘deviated septum’, you may have many questions about the medical condition and to go about resolving it. Many of the most common questions and concerns are addressed here.

Q: What is a deviated septum?

A: While it sounds terrifying, the answer is much simpler. A septum is the thin membrane of bone and cartilage that separates your nasal cavities. When this membrane is bent out of shape, it’s called a deviated septum. Often a deviated septum can lead to breathing difficulties or sinus issues including frequent sinus infections.

Q: Is surgery required to fix a deviated septum?

A: There are several classes of a deviated septum. Some individuals with a Class One deviation require no surgery as they have no symptoms that stem from a minor condition. The septum may be off center, but it’s not causing a problem for the patient so no treatment is necessary. The deviations that are more severe cause problems like congestion, nose bleeds, breathing troubles and sinus infections and surgery is the only long-term solution. Surgical intervention is considered a permanent fix.

Q: Does rhinoplasty fix a deviated septum?

A: The short answer here is: it can. Rhinoplasty is a term for many different nose procedures, and one of those does include the more specific septoplasty where a surgeon works inside the nose to remove any excess bone or cartilage necessary to open up the nasal cavities. When the two are combined, the correct term is septorhinoplasty.

Q: Can you see a deviated septum?

A: The deviated septum is inside the nasal cavities, so it’s not visible on the outside of the face. In severe cases a doctor may be able to see a blockage through a nasal cavity and asymmetry may be visible in the shape of the nose as well.


Understanding Revision Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is one part surgery and one part art. When a surgeon works on a patient’s nose, there are any number of procedures he can try to straighten the nose, to make it wider or more narrow. The surgeon can scrape off bone or break it and completely reshape the nose as necessary. This means that the typical patient isn’t always able to decide exactly what she wants her nose to look like prior to the surgery.


The first procedure for rhinoplasty is a bit of gamble for most patients. Even the most skilled doctor can’t create a nose that appears to have come from a mold. There is a chance that the rhinoplasty created may not appear exactly the way the patient anticipated. Surgeons are often hesitant to make changes that are too dramatic – preferring instead to make smaller changes to play down elements that are less attractive. Working small gives surgeons greater control of the surgery, but it can lead to some surprise for patients who were hoping for a result that was decidedly more dramatic.

Revision Rhinoplasty

For patients who are unsatisfied with the effect of the surgery, many surgeons offer a follow-up surgery where additional changes can be performed as a means of fine-tuning the results. Patients are discouraged from having many surgeries on the nose as this is a small area, but as many as fifteen percent of patients who have sought a nose job have gone on to have a revision rhinoplasty to further develop the look they seek.

Patients who go into rhinoplasty with a realistic expectation for results are far more likely to have a satisfactory outcome than those who are anticipating an entirely new face or a hugely dramatic change. However that bit of mystery and gamble that comes with a rhinoplasty can often inspire patients who were open minded going into the surgery to improve their looks even more.

What Is a Deviated Septum?

A deviated septum is often corrected at the time of a rhinoplasty procedure. The septum is the thin wall between the two nostrils, inside the nose. In essence it’s a wall of cartilage and bone that divides the nose in half. Ideally, the septum should be straight inside the nose allowing the patient to breathe normally through both nostrils evenly. In many cases, however, the septum become slanted or crooked inside the nose making normal breathing a problem and possible blocking one or both nostrils and leading to breathing problems.

Causes of a Deviated Septum

There are many ways a nose can become slightly off center. In some cases, the nose grows quickly during puberty or an adolescent growth spurt and winds off slightly off center. In this case, the septum might just bend to one side or the other as the growth pushes it this way and that.

The deviated septum can also be caused by an accident or sporting injury to the nose or face. In some cases, a deviated septum can be caused at birth as a congenital condition. In fact, very few people actually have a straight septum. While many individuals live with the deviated septum for a lifetime without major concerns, other seek out medical treatment to correct the problem.

Correcting a Deviated Septum

The solution to a deviated septum is to surgically straighten the bones or cartilage so that it is realigned between the two nostrils. This may require clipping of the cartilage or even the breaking and removal of some bone. The surgery to correct a deviated septum, septoplasty, is used to correct conditions that stem from the deviated septum like chronic sinusitis, inflammation or frequent nose bleeds as well as breathing problems. Correcting a deviated septum can correct snoring issues as well.