How To Fix A Deviated Septum Without Surgery? If you generally can’t breathe easily through your nose, or if your partner complains of your snoring, you may have a deviated septum.
The nasal septum is a thin, bone and cartilage structure that runs through the center of your nose. If it’s significantly off-center or crooked, you have a deviated septum.
It’s estimated that 80% of Americans live with a deviated septum, and for many, it’s not a problem. However, if you have trouble breathing, you should consider taking steps to correct the problem so you can breathe clearly day and night.
Cause of a Deviated Septum
Your nasal septum may get crooked or off-center as the result of an injury from years ago. Perhaps you broke your nose as a kid playing baseball and it never healed properly.
Or, maybe you were born with a structural abnormality of the cartilage in your nose. A deviated septum can also be the result of a cartilage breakdown during the natural aging process.
Not everyone needs treatment for a deviated septum. In fact, you probably don’t want to undergo a surgical procedure unless your deviated septum is interfering with your normal breathing patterns or causing chronic congestion.
Additionally, if you have a severely deviated septum that makes your nose appear crooked, and it makes you feel self-conscious, then you may want to consider solutions.
If it’s a breathing problem you’re concerned with, first recommend conservative treatments, such as taking antihistamines, nasal decongestants, or steroid nasal sprays.
What Happens During the Surgery?
Doctors call the surgery to straighten the septum “septoplasty.” It’s usually done by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Some people also get plastic surgery on their nose, to change its shape, at the same time.
Your surgeon won’t have to cut the skin on your face, where someone might see it. They can use instruments that they put into the nostrils.
Before your surgery, your doctor may tell you to avoid medications that include ibuprofen or aspirin, because they can make bleeding more likely.
On the day of the operation, you’ll get some type of anesthesia. You may or may not be awake for the surgery, which will usually take about an hour and a half.
Your surgeon will trim your septum and make it straighter. Sometimes, they may need to cut the bone in order to place it in the right position. You may also get silicone splints to keep your septum supported.
Your doctor may decide you need nasal packing. This is when gauze-like material is placed in the nasal cavity to absorb blood or other fluids. They will remove them at your first follow-up appointment.
Possible Risks, Effects, and Benefits
If the specialist recommends surgery, you should feel free to ask about the risks and benefits. There’s a chance you could have complications, such as:
- Bad reactions to anesthesia
- Slight tear or hole in the septum
Sometimes after surgery, you might continue to have symptoms of sinusitis until the infection clears up completely. Or, if there were other blockages in your sinuses, such as polyps, there may still be some lingering breathing or drainage issues.
Some people find that they have problems with their sense of smell after the procedure.
These risks are slight. Your doctor should talk to you about them as well as any of your concerns prior to surgery.
The benefits can be life-changing. You might breathe better and have fewer sinus infections.
Recovery after the Surgery
You should be able to go home after the operation, but you will need someone to drive you home. There are some things that you’ll need to remember in the days and weeks following surgery:
- Avoid heavy lifting and other hard activities.
- Keep your head raised when you sleep. You might need to use an extra pillow.
- Avoid blowing your nose.
Make sure to get all your instructions in writing — for the care of your nose and for medications — before you head home. It’s very important to follow your doctor’s advice to avoid complications.