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Deviated Septum: How Young is Too Young for Surgery

A deviated septum is a bit term for a rather common place condition. A true deviated septum is when the membrane that separates the nostrils becomes bent or out of line, partially or completely blocking one or both nostrils. The deviated septum can have varying levels of severity, and it is the severity of the condition that determines who should have surgery to correct the problem and who should wait.

The youngest potential patients for a septoplasty are those who have difficulty breathing through their noses. Parents may notice that the deviated septum becomes a problem when the child always breathes through his mouth or if a baby has trouble nursing. Not being able to breathe properly can make many things difficult for a child, and if it is interfering with feedings and normal daily procedures, surgeons are often willing to operate while the child is still relatively young.

In the vast majority of cases for a deviated septum, doctors are hesitant to operate before the child is fifteen years of age. The cartilage that makes up the septum in the nose is still growing, and as a deviated septum is not life threatening, even if it is inconvenient for patients, doctors prefer to handle the symptoms of the condition rather than try to correct it while the nose is still growing.

Often, the severity of a deviated septum changes some over time with the growth of the nose. Other things such as injuries and sporting accidents can affect the nose and possibly cause additional damage or make a deviated septum even more severe.

Once the nose is done growing, usually around fifteen or perhaps sixteen or seventeen for boys, the surgeon is able to perform the surgery to correct the condition and perhaps correct the exterior appearance of the nose at the same time through a rhinoplasty procedure.