“Ultimately, this is a patient quality-of-life issue rather a medically harmful condition,” Tabaee told Women’s Health. “Treatment is therefore based on the severity of the patient’s symptoms.”
A deviated septum may prove more difficult to manage with the onset of allergies and other nasal passage-blocking ailments. Evaluation will require a patient’s complete medical history, consultation with an otolaryngologist (or ear, nose, and throat doctor—ENT), and an endoscopy, which entails sticking a lighted, camera-tipped tube up a patient’s nose to take a look inside the nasal passages. Treatment might constitute medication for allergies or rhinitis conditions, Tabaee said, but if a deviated septum really interferes with the patient’s daily life, surgery might be a worthwhile route.
Watch a hot doctor explain what makes asthma worse:
Deviated septum surgery, or septoplasty, repositions the nasal septum in the center of the nasal cavity, moving the bone and cartilage through the mucous and skin layer lining the nose. This shouldn’t change the patient’s facial appearance at all (unless the patient has also requested rhinoplasty), but the surgery is often performed together with other procedures to improve nasal obstruction.
Septoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure performed in an operating room, Tabaee said, for which patients can expect to miss two to three days of work if they’re employed. Post-surgery pain and mild bleeding often linger for a day or two, while tissue swelling and nasal congestion can last for one to two weeks. Patients can expect to use a saline spray or rinse, and to meet with their surgeon for periodic cleanings during recovery. But, according to Tabaee, the procedure is low-risk and “generally highly successful.” So if your deviated septum is causing you habitual discomfort and eternal stuffiness, consult with a doctor to see if you might be a good candidate for septoplasty.