Deviated Septum

What is a deviated septum?

A wall of cartilage divides the nose into 2 separate chambers. It’s called the nasal septum. A deviated septum is when this wall is shifted away from the midline. This may cause congestion, problems with breathing, or nasal discharge.

The most common symptom from a deviated septum is trouble breathing through the nose. The symptoms are often worse on one side. In some cases, normal sinus drainage is affected. This can result in repeated sinus infections.

What causes a deviated septum?

You may be born with a deviated
septum. Or it can result from injury, or damage from past treatments.

What are the symptoms of a deviated septum?

Other people normally can’t tell you have a deviated septum. Trouble breathing through the nose, or one side of the nose, is the most common symptom. You may also have stuffiness, congestion, or a feeling of fullness. A deviated septum can also impair normal drainage from the sinuses. This can lead to recurrent sinus infections.

How is a deviated septum diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will take
a health history and do a physical exam. He or she will ask questions about any previous
injury, and symptoms. The physical exam may be done with a handheld tool (nasal
speculum) that lets your provider gently open the nostril a little. Or your provider may
use a small lighted scope (otoscope) to look into an ear or a nostril. Your provider may
also use look at your nasal or sinus passages (nasal endoscopy). This is done using a
skinny, flexible lighted tube with a camera in it. If needed, a CT scan of the nose may
be done.