Deviated nasal septum - causes, symptoms, and recovery

deviated nasal septum

Imagine a situation where you just want to take a deep breath. But you can’t because one side of your nose can’t take in enough air. You’ve had problems with this side of your nose for as long as you can remember. And people are always asking you if you’re sick because you always seem to be congested…we totally get your frustration!

There are lots of reasons why you may be experiencing nasal congestion, poor sleep, or difficulty breathing through your nose. These include allergies and sinus infections.

Or it could be something that you may not even have heard of before, a deviated nasal septum. Let’s find out more about this condition in our latest blog.

Fact check

Deviated nasal septums are very common, in fact it’s estimated that up to 80% of people have one.


What is a deviated nasal septum ?

The nasal septum  is a wall made up of connective tissue and cartilage that divides the left and right nasal passages. Mucous membrane lines both sides of these passages.

A deviated septum occurs when the septum is misaligned or tilted towards one side with the result that one nasal passage is wider than the other.

The nasal passage can deviate so far in some cases that it blocks one side of the nose. This reduces or blocks airflow, making breathing difficult. Another issue is that the larger side is more exposed to the elements, causing it to dry out. This can cause cracking and bleeding.

What causes deviated nasal septum?


Inheritance – People either have a deviated septum at birth or as a result of an injury. Some people will sustain a birth injury and believe they were born with it. If someone in the family has a deviated septum, it is more likely that it was inherited rather than caused by a birth injury.


Trauma – Injuries to the nose, which can result in a deviated septum, are frequently traumatic blows to the face. Contact sports such as football and wrestling can result in a deviated nasal septum. It could also occur as the result of a car accident.


Ageing – Age-related nasal changes can result in a deviated septum or worsening of the deviation. Some people may not notice any problems when they are younger, but experience symptoms as they grow older.


Also read: Open Vs Closed Rhinoplasty


What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?


Nosebleeds – Your nasal septum surface may become dry, increasing your chances of getting a crusty dry nose and nosebleeds.


Face ache – A severely deviated septum affecting the inside of your nasal wall can cause facial pain, including one-sided facial pain.


Headaches – As a result of a deviated septum, you may also experience headaches.


Obstruction of the nasopharynx – Breathing through your nostrils or one nostril only can be difficult if you have a nostril obstruction. This may be more noticeable if you have an upper respiratory tract infection, a cold, or allergies, all of which can cause your nasal passages to narrow and swell.


Nasal drip – A deviated septum can cause post-nasal drip or a runny nose.


Congestion in the nose – You may frequently have a stuffy nose.


Sleeping with noisy breathing – This condition is often seen in young children and infants. They may experience noisy breathing when they are asleep if they have a deviated septum or swelling in nearby tissues.


Other possible conditions due to deviated nasal septum 

  • Poor sleep patterns and sleep apnoea
  • Fatigue and dark circles under the eyes
  • Anxiety


How can a deviated nasal septum be treated?


A deviated nasal septum can be corrected with a type of surgery called a septoplasty. This procedure can take up to 90 minutes to complete. During the procedure, the surgeon repositions, trims, and straightens the cartilage and bone that comprise the nasal septum.

Many people who have septoplasty have  rhinoplasty as well, or vice versa. Because the patient is already sedated and the surgeon is already performing work on the nose, it makes sense to work on the nose’s inner and outer surfaces to improve its appearance.

People are unaware that having a septoplasty and rhinoplasty is referred to as septorhinoplasty. This is what you can request if you want both procedures done at the same time.


What is the recovery period after deviated septum surgery?


It can take several weeks for someone to recover from a deviated septum surgery fully. Depending on what is done during the procedure, the swelling could last six months before the final results are visible.

Most people can resume school or work within a few days of surgery. Returning to normal activities, such as exercising, can take up to three weeks.


Also Read: 5 advanced facial cosmetic surgeries that can transform your look


What results should you expect from deviated septum surgery?


After septoplasty, you can expect a repositioned septum in a midline position so that both sides of the nose can breathe well and the sinuses can drain properly.  The surgeon removes or straightens various parts of your septal bone and cartilage, which will allow you to regain a normal pattern of airflow to your nose.


Looking for a deviated nasal septum treatment expert?


Dr Adnan Tahir is a UK board-certified plastic surgeon specialising in many types of body reconstruction surgeries. With over a decade’s experience, he has successfully handled many complex cases of deviated nasal septum surgery. He also has a long track record when it comes to a wide range of other intricate surgeries like rhinoplasty, trauma reconstruction, breast reconstructive surgeries, blepharoplasty, congenital deformity rectifications and more.

As well as offering the best care to globally-recognised standards, Dr Adnan truly believes in delivering the best possible patient experience by dedicating time to his patients, listening to their needs and informing them about the latest techniques and treatments.

To find out more about nasal septum surgery performed by Dr Adnan, contact him today.