Up to 80% of Americans have some degree of a deviated septum, in which the wall between your nostrils shifts out of place. In severe cases, a deviated septum can cause breathing problems, chronic sinus infections, and other problems. The team at ENT Specialists of Alaska offers deviated septum solutions like septoplasty to restore normal structure and breathing. There are two locations in Wasilla and Eagle River, Alaska, and several partner clinics including Alyeska Center for Facial Plastic Surgery & ENT, and Geneva Woods Ear, Nose & Throat Associates, in Anchorage, Alaska. Call the one nearest you or click on the online scheduling tool.
A deviated septum happens when the nasal septum — the delicate bone and cartilage that separates your nostrils — moves to the right or left.
Most Americans have at least a mildly deviated septum. When your nasal septum is significantly off-center, it can cause a variety of breathing and health problems.
The main reasons for deviated septum are nose trauma, like a blow to the face, and congenital nose structure issues. Chronic nasal passage swelling, as with sinusitis, for example, doesn't cause a deviated septum but can worsen its effects. Sometimes, the cause is uncertain.
Breathing difficulty is the most common sign of a deviated septum. This condition often results in normal breathing in one nostril, but a sensation of chronic stuffiness in the other. Along with breathing problems, you may also have:
You may instinctively change your behaviors to compensate for a deviated septum. For example, you might start sleeping on one side to allow for maximum breathing in your unobstructed nostril.
If you have one or more of these issues and suspect a deviated septum, the next step is scheduling an assessment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist at ENT Specialists of Alaska for diagnosis and treatment.
Your ENT Specialists of Alaska provider performs a comprehensive exam and may also use the MiniCAT computed tomography (CT) machine on-site to perform a CT scan for advanced diagnosis. They recommend treatment based on the degree of deviation and your symptoms.
Nonsurgical treatment to reduce the frequency of sinus infections and nosebleeds, improve breathing, and manage other symptoms may work well in some cases. For a permanent solution, a surgical procedure called septoplasty is usually the best approach.
With septoplasty, your surgeon adjusts, realigns, or sometimes removes portions of the nasal septum to restore it to the optimal position. Septoplasty only affects the inside of your nose. If you’d like to alter the look of your nose, you can have a rhinoplasty procedure at the same time.
If you think you might have a deviated septum or are experiencing other breathing issues, call ENT Specialists of Alaska or book an appointment online.