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What is a Deviated Septum?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2014
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A deviated septum is an irregular arrangement of the cartilage that separates the two sides of the nasal cavity. The septum is the wall that divides the nasal cavities. It is made of cartilage and divides the nose into two separate cavities.

Having a deviated septum may cause problems such as nasal discharges or breathing difficulties. Many people may have a mildly deviated septum without being aware of it. The more deviated the septum is, the more serious the problem will be. There are many reasons a person can have a deviated septum. It may be a birth defect or caused by an injury, or the result of previous medical treatments.

There is a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure that can correct a deviated septum. This is known as septoplasty. This procedure can also be performed to correct other medical problems such as cleft defects, which also affect the nose and nasal cavities.

The septoplasty operation consists of peeling away the mucus membranes from the cartilage and bone. No incisions are made through the nose, as the operation is performed through the nostrils. Once the septum is exposed, parts of it can be removed or pushed back towards the middle. The linings are then stitched back to cover the septum.

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There is usually little pain or bleeding involved in the correction of a deviated septum. Anesthesia will be given by injection either into the nose or into the mouth. The surgery is performed in an operating theatre and should last approximately 45 minutes. Most people are able to leave the hospital one to two hours after surgery.

After the deviated septum has been corrected, there may be a slight swelling to the nose. There should be no blackening around the eyes. There should also be no pain, but if there is, medicine can be taken. A bandage will be placed under the nose to catch any mucus or blood. This can be removed 12 to 24 hours after the operation.

There is a chance of short-term side effects after an operation to correct a deviated septum. These are rare, but can include a dull headache, swelling and bruising around the eyes. Your face may feel puffy, and small burst blood vessels may appear as red spots on the skin's surface. Healing is always a gradual process, and in some cases it can take up to a year before the results of the surgery are fully apparent.

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Discuss this Article

anon953118
Post 3

This is ridiculous. A deviated septum is not done under local anesthesia. I just had the procedure done two days ago and was under general anesthesia. They take your septum apart and rearrange it. Good luck being conscious while they do that.

anon40271
Post 2

Must son had this surgery and now cannot smell. You don't have that listed as a side effect. Is this common?

mbkdb702
Post 1

My friend has been diagnosed with a deviated septum she has facial bruising a headache blurred vision and has has 2 seizures in the last 2 weeks is this all normal for this? I am worried she has had a ct scan which showed nothing. I have searched the web only to find the bruising is usually after surgery any clues? as the docs here don't seem to find any concern.

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