Approximately 80 percent of the world’s population has a deviated septum that is often caused by a sport’s injury, automobile accident or other trauma that changes the shape or placement of the cartilage between the nostrils in the nose. Many individuals are completely unaware that the displaced nostril cartilage in their nose is what causes constant congestion or problems with breathing. Someone with frequent sinus infections, sleep apnea or loss of smell may visit a nose specialist for treatment, leading to the diagnosis of a defective septum. Modern medical imaging tests are the best way for a physician to determine the exact type of abnormality affecting the septum.
Plastic surgeons or other nose specialists understand the intricate parts of the inside of the nostrils, including the septum. When the septum is perfect, it is 100 percent symmetrical, but very few individuals have a perfect nose structure. Small deviations in the interior structure of the nose cause no symptoms, but larger abnormalities can lead to poor sleep, facial pain or snoring. A physician or surgeon will check each structure of the septum, including:
• Ethnoid bone – separates the brain from the nasal cavity
• Vomer – a facial bone located in the skull
• Nasal bone – located between the eyes on the bridge of the nose
Several bones of the nose and septum join to bones located in the facial area or skull, requiring specialized skill during a rhinoplasty procedure to avoid damaging. The septum is covered with thin skin tissue, nerves and tiny capillaries that are extremely sensitive.
Congenital problems with the nose are a common occurrence that often leads to wanting a rhinoplasty procedure from a competent plastic surgeon. There are several specific types of septum abnormalities that are found at birth, including those caused by Ehlers-Danlos or Marfan syndrome that are rare genetic connective disorders. In most cases, physicians prefer to wait until a patient is in their late teens before performing rhinoplasty surgery to correct a deviated septum. Of course, if the defective nose makes breathing difficult, then a surgical procedure is required when a patient is an infant.
If you think you may have a deviated septum based on the symptoms addressed above, consider reaching out to your physician or a trusted doctor of rhinoplasty.