Patient Education - Deviated Septum

Patient Education - Deviated Septum

The shape of your nasal cavity could be the cause of chronic sinusitis. The nasal septum is the wall dividing the nasal cavity into halves; it is composed of a central supporting skeleton covered on each side by mucous membrane. The front portion of this natural partition is a firm but bendable structure made mostly of cartilage and is covered by skin that has a substantial supply of blood vessels. The ideal nasal septum is exactly midline, separating the left and right sides of the nose into passageways of equal size.

Estimates are that 80 percent of all nasal septums are off-center, a condition that is generally not noticed. A "deviated septum" occurs when the septum is severely shifted away from the midline. The most common symptom from a badly deviated or crooked septum is difficulty breathing through the nose. The symptoms are usually worse on one side, and sometimes actually occur on the side opposite the bend. In some cases the crooked septum can interfere with the drainage of the sinuses, resulting in repeated sinus infections.

Septoplasty is the preferred surgical treatment to correct a deviated septum. This procedure is not generally performed on minors, because the cartilaginous septum grows until around age 18. Septal deviations commonly occur due to nasal trauma.

A deviated septum may cause one or more of the following:

  • Blockage of one or both nostrils
  • Nasal congestion, sometimes one-sided
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Frequent sinus infections
  • At times, facial pain, headaches, postnasal drip
  • Noisy breathing during sleep (in infants and young children)

In some cases, a person with a mildly deviated septum has symptoms only when he or she also has a "cold" (an upper respiratory tract infection). In these individuals, the respiratory infection triggers nasal inflammation that temporarily amplifies any mild airflow problems related to the deviated septum. Once the "cold" resolves, and the nasal inflammation subsides, symptoms of a deviated septum often resolve, too.

Diagnosis Of A Deviated Septum:

Patients with chronic sinusitis often have nasal congestion, and many have nasal septal deviations. However, for those with this debilitating condition, there may be additional reasons for the nasal airway obstruction. The problem may result from a septal deviation, reactive edema (swelling) from the infected areas, allergic problems, mucosal hypertrophy (increase in size), other anatomic abnormalities, or combinations thereof. Dr. Zimm in diagnosing and treating ear, nose, and throat disorders can determine the cause of your chronic sinusitis and nasal obstruction.

Your First Visit:

After discussing your symptoms, Dr. Zimm will inquire if you have ever incurred severe trauma to your nose and if you have had previous nasal surgery. Next, an examination of the general appearance of your nose will occur, including the position of your nasal septum. This will entail the use of a bright light and a nasal speculum (an instrument that gently spreads open your nostril) to inspect the inside surface of each nostril.

Surgery may be the recommended treatment if the deviated septum is causing troublesome nosebleeds, severe nasal blockage, or recurrent sinus infections. Additional testing may be required in some circumstances.

Septoplasty:

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed entirely through the nostrils, accordingly, no bruising or external signs occur. The surgery might be combined with a rhinoplasty, in which case the external appearance of the nose is altered and swelling/bruising of the face is evident. Septoplasty may also be combined with sinus surgery.

The time required for the operation averages about one to one and a half hours, depending on the deviation. It is typically done with a general anesthetic in an outpatient basis. After surgery, Dr. Zimm does not typically use nasal packing to prevent excessive postoperative bleeding. During the surgery, badly deviated portions of the septum may be removed entirely, or they may be readjusted and reinserted into the nose.

If a deviated nasal septum is the sole cause for your chronic sinusitis, relief from this severe disorder will be achieved.

Content Provided by American Academy of Otolaryngology

REVIEWS

FEATURED testimonials

"I am very happy with the results."

“Prior to the consultation, I was very uneasy about getting fillers in my cheeks because I didn’t want to look unnatural or feminine. Dr. Zimm senses my concerns and was very patient…before leaving his office, I knew exactly what to expect over the next few days after the injection. All in all, I am very happy with the results and I’m glad I found Dr. Zimm’s office.”

"My breathing is significantly improved and the cosmetic portion was beautifully done."

“…As a healthcare provider myself, I have worked with many physicians over the years and I can attest to his competence and professionalism. His practice is extremely well run and his excellent bedside manner, astute medical knowledge and involvement in the latest research put me at ease and allowed for me to completely trust his abilities… His passion for his field of work is evident, and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome of my sinus reconstruction and rhinoplasty -- my breathing is significantly improved and the cosmetic portion is beautifully done.”

"World-class Surgeon with a Small-town Manner"

“I was really impressed by how much he knew about state-of-the art surgical techniques and practiced them. He is clearly an extremely skilled surgeon. He is also a very intelligent and kind person. As someone who doesn't love the idea of surgery, I felt comfortable and confident… As someone who works as a professor and an artist, I can say that Dr. Zimm sets a high bar for engaging with people and teaching them about their condition, for putting people at ease and building trust, and for clearly being passionate about both the artistry and the technical dexterity of his work. I couldn't recommend him more.”

"He won me by his demeanor, his experience, strive for perfection and honesty."

“Need a perfect, natural-looking nose? Go nowhere else but to Dr. Zimm!...Being involved in the industry myself, I went to 13 different rhinoplasty consultations in NYC to find the right surgeon. After hearing lots of opinions, prices and seeing different images of the "perfect" nose, I chose Dr. Zimm. He won me by his demeanor, his experience, strive for perfection and honesty. He also didn't have a "signature" nose he puts on every one of his patients (walk around the UES and you'll know what I'm talking about). He is truly an amazing surgeon and anyone who works with him at the hospital will tell you the same.”

"Dr. Zimm made me feel as though he was treating a friend or family member."

“Working in the industry I have had the opportunity to work with many surgeons and am always very particular when choosing a physician myself, family, friends and so forth. Dr. Zimm recently performed a Blepharoplasty on me in his office. I consulted with 10 surgeons before moving forward and scheduling this surgery. Without hesitation, I have to say I could not have made a better choice in surgeons!!!! Dr. Zimm was confident and competent, he also had a wonderful bedside manner and made me feel as though he was treating a friend or family member of his own. Fantastic! Not to mention the results are amazing!!!! Completely natural, but amazing Thank you Dr. Zimm!!!!!!”

"Warm and extremely professional"

I am not one to write reviews, but Dr. Zimm deserves one. I had numerous consultations with other top rhinoplasty surgeons across the country but as soon as I had my consultation with Dr. Zimm, I immediately felt he was the right surgeon for me. I am very thankful I chose him. Heather and his entire staff have been warm and extremely professional. He is a brilliant surgeon. I can’t say enough positive things about my experience and would recommend him to anyone looking for a kind, patient, artistic surgeon.

"If I was asked to describe Dr. Zimm in two words I would say: 'GREAT HEALER!'"

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