Before any corrective surgery, there are a few things that need to be addressed.  First, you need to recognize that something may need to be corrected; second, it needs to be diagnosed.  When it comes to your nasal passages, there are a number of signs and symptoms that can point to a common issue; a deviated septum.  A deviated septum occurs when your nasal septum, the thin wall that separates the nasal passages is displaced, or deviated, to one side or the other.  This makes one passage smaller, and in severe cases can block one side of your nose, reducing air flow, making it difficult to breathe.

Symptoms of a Deviated Septum

  • Nosebleeds: The additional exposure caused by a deviated septum increases the drying effect of airflow through the nose, which can cause bleeding.
  • Facial pain: With a severely deviated septum, the impacted nasal wall can be a cause for facial pain.
  • Nostril obstruction: The obstruction caused by the displaced nasal wall can make breathing through your nostrils difficult.  Upper respiratory infections and allergies can exacerbate this as the passages swell.
  • Sleep difficulties: A deviated septum can result in loud breathing during sleep. It can also lead to a preference on which side you sleep.  Depending on the side of your nose that is narrowed, breathing can be optimized by sleeping on that side; however, it can make resting awkward or uncomfortable.

Diagnosis of a Deviated Septum

Your doctor will be able to examine the inside of your nose by using a nasal endoscope; this provides the most thorough examination.  It is also important to look at your nasal tissue.  To do this, the tissue will be examined before and after applying a decongestant.  After these examinations, your doctor will not only be able to determine if you have a deviated septum but the severity as well.

Treatment for a Deviated Septum

Managing the symptoms of a deviated septum is the first step.  This can be done with decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal steroid sprays to control and reduce the swelling of the nasal tissue.  However these treatments do not correct a deviated septum, they only mitigate swollen mucous membranes that can further hinder your ability to breathe.  After medical therapy, the next option is septoplasty.

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure that repairs a deviated septum.  During this operation, your nasal septum is straightened and repositioned to the center of your nose.  After surgery, the symptoms you experienced due to your deviated septum are often completely resolved.

If you suffer from a deviated septum, or any of the associated symptoms, septoplasty surgery may be able to significantly improve your quality of life. If you want to know if you will benefit from this procedure the Rhinologists at Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, Drs. Henry P. Barham and Christian A. Hall can help. Please call 225-819-1181 or find us online at to schedule an appointment.