What is a Deviated Septum

In the medical field a septum refers to a wall seperating a cavity or a structure in the body into smaller compartments. There are several examples of septa in the human body. These include: interatrial septum which forms a tissue wall in the left atria and right atria in the heart, interventricular septum also known as the median septum which forms the wall separating the left ventricle and right ventricle of the heart, the lingual septum that forms a vertical wall of fibrous tissue separating the halves of the tongue, the nasal septum that forms a cartridge wall which separates the nostrils from the nose among others.

The most common septum deviation is nasal septum deviation. It is a common disorder of the human nose which manifests itself as a dislocation of the nasal septum. The main cause of nasal septum displacement is impact trauma. This can be caused by either a blow to the face by events like a car accident, a punch or a fall. However it can also be a congenital disorder as a result of compression of the face during child birth. A deviated nasal septum can also be associated with genetic connective tissue disorders like the Marfan syndrome and the Ehles Danlso Syndrome.

Normally, the nasal septum lies centrally making the two nostrils symmetrical. When the septum is displaced in the nasal cavity, the top of the cartilaginous ridge will either lean to the left or the right. This will, as a result, cause blockage in the affected nasal passage making it hard to breath. In severe cases the condition can cause poor drainage of mucus in the sinuses.

The conditions that are related to a deviated nasal septum are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Headaches
  • Bleeding Nose
  • Sleeping disorders like snoring and sleeping apnea

But it is common for the nasal septum to deviate slightly from the center. It is only significant deviation that poses a problem. The shift in the alignment of the septum has to be significant enough to cause discomfort to the patient and affect him adversely. Most people who have deviated nasal septa actually do not realize it until it causes them significant pain.

To correct a deviated nasal septum, a minor surgery is necessary. This surgery is known as septoplasty where the surgeon goes into the nostril cutting away the obstructing matter. It’s a quick surgery that takes roughly one hour to complete. There are no cosmetic alterations associated with the surgery and it takes between 2 days and 4 weeks to heal completely. However nasal steroids sprays are also used to treat problems associated with nasal septum deviations. However, they do not change the position of the septum therefore they are not a one in all solution.