Many people feel as if they cannot breathe well through their nose. This can affect sleeping or snoring, the ability to exercise, or even cause nosebleeds or headaches.
The septum is the thin wall that separates the right and left sides of the inside of the nose. It is made up of cartilage and bone and ideally should be situated in the the center. If the septum is deviated and bends into the nose, it can cause one or both sides to feel blocked or congested. This feeling is due to an obstruction of the flow of air through the nose. Think of it like a 4 lane highway: If a truck blocks one of the lanes traffic slows and can’t get through. It’s the same in the nose, if the septum is blocking part of the nasal passage, air cannot get through.
Septal deviation is a result of a congenital malformation at birth or the result of trauma to the nose, most often a broken nose. A nasal fracture can cause the cartilage to warp over time, leading to a septal deviation and difficulty breathing through the nose. The aging process can also cause changes to the septum, causing obstruction.
Treatment for a deviated septum entails a trial of medication to reduce inflammation in the nose or a surgical procedure known as septoplasty. Common medications used are nasal steroids known as Nasonex, Flonase, or generic fluticasone. If symptoms of allergy are also present, an antihistamine may also be used.
Dr. Shaw may recommend septoplasty surgery to help you breathe better. This is an outpatient surgery performed under general anesthesia, which means you are completely asleep. Dr. Shaw performs this surgery at the Stony Point Surgery Center, about a block away from his office. The procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Dr. Shaw does not use nasal packing for any of his nasal surgeries. Instead, he uses suturing techniques inside of the nose to achieve the same goals.
Most insurance carriers will pay for a septoplasty performed for nasal blockage. Our office will help you with authorization, co-pays, or any other necessary information.