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.

Infections

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.