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.