What is a septum?
The septum is a wall dividing the nasal passages and sinus cavities in two. This wall is made mainly of bone while the front portion is made of cartilage. The septum together with the nasal passages and sinus cavities are lined with mucus membranes.
What is a deviated septum?
A deviated septum/septal deviation is when this cartilage is either damaged or crooked.
What causes a deviated septum?
There are two main causes for a deviated septum:
- Nasal trauma, when the septum is injured. This injury can happen during:
- Contact sports such as boxing, skate/snow boarding, riding a bicycle, ect…
- Household accidents such as falling, bumping into things (clumsy), fistfights, ect…
- Unusual nasoseptal growth patterns also known as cartilaginous growth abnormalities, which are birth defects.
Can a deviated septum cause any complications?
Yes, there are complications that include:
- Sinusitis, which can be caused when a deviated septum blocks a sinus opening. This makes stagnant mucus a perfect place for bacteria to thrive in causing a sinus infection.
- Congestion is caused when a deviated septum blocks the sinus opening. Mucus then builds up in the sinus cavities causing it to block.
- Nose bleeds. There are many tiny blood vessels in the septum that can damage easily. Injuries can cause the tip or the inside of your nose to bleed.
- Post nasal drip is the drip of mucus down the back of the throat caused by blocked sinus cavities.
- Difficulty breathing when nasal passages are inflamed, making the passages narrow.
- Headaches due to congestion and pressure build up in blocked sinuses.
How is septal deviation treated?
Septoplasty. This is a surgery performed to repair or straighten a damaged septum. This procedure is mainly done for people over the age of 18 as a child’s septum only stops growing around 17-18 years. Surgeons usually wait for children to reach this age before surgery is performed.
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