A deviated nasal septum can cause nasal congestion and stuffiness.
The nasal septum is the wall that divides your nasal passages into the right and left sides.
The septum is made of cartilage and bone. Just like we have skin on the outside of the body, there is a layer similar to skin on top of the cartilage and bone on the septum. This layer covers and protects the cartilage and bone. It also helps to keep the inside of the nose moist.
The septum is often not straight; it can be pushed to one side or another. When the septum is not straight, it is called a deviated septum. A deviated septum can block airflow in one or both sides of the nose.
The picture on the left shows the inside of the right side of the nose. In this picture, the septum is deviated to the right, causing nasal blockage on that side of the nose.
The diagnosis of a deviated septum can be made by looking closely on the inside of the nose.
Nasal congestion can affect your daily life. Some patients who have nasal stuffiness feel almost like they have a cold. Many people also notice they get very stuffy when they go to bed. This can make it hard to get restful sleep.
It is important to examine the nose carefully to figure out why someone has nasal congestion. In our office, we will use a small instrument called a nasal endoscope to look inside the nose. The endoscope is like a very small flashlight with a camera on its tip. This allows us to look inside your nose to look for things that are causing blockage. The picture on the left shows a patient having a nasal endoscopy in the office. Most patients feel a little tickle inside the nose during the procedure. The procedure is rarely painful.
For patients who have a deviated septum, surgery can help improve their breathing. The surgery to repair a deviated septum is called a septoplasty.
For more information about septoplasty…
Dr. Goyal has written several articles and book chapters on the nasal septum and surgery to repair a deviated nasal septum. Please see these links for more information:
- Information on our website about septoplasty.
- Dr. Goyal's article for the American Rhinologic Society website on septoplasty and turbinate surgery can be found at http://care.american-rhinologic.org/septoplasty_turbinates
- Dr. Goyal published a paper in the American Journal of Rhinology regarding a portion of the septum called the septal body: Setlur J & Goyal P. Relationship between septal body size and septal deviation. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 25(6):397-400, November/December 2011.
- Dr. Goyal's has written two book chapters about septoplasty:
- Goyal P, Hwang PH. Septal & turbinate surgery. In: Kountakis S & Onerci M, eds. Rhinologic and Sleep Apnea Surgical Techniques. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2007
- Goyal P & Hwang PH. Septal and turbinate surgery. In: Kennedy DW & Hwang PH, eds. Rhinology: Diseases of the nose, sinuses, and skull base. Thieme, New York, 2012.