Deviated Septum

Deviated Septum

What is a deviated septum?

A septum is a wall that divides two cavities. In the nose, the septum is made of cartilage, and it divides the nose into two separate chambers (right and left). A deviated septum is an abnormal shape of the cartilage, which may cause problems with proper breathing or nasal discharge. A deviated septum may be caused by a birth defect, injury, or damage from previous medical treatments.

How is a deviated septum treated?

A type of reconstructive plastic surgery called septoplasty is performed to correct an improperly formed nasal septum. Septoplasty may be performed using traditional (internal) surgical techniques from inside the nose, or by an open (external) method. Scarring is not visible when internal surgery is performed. When open surgery is performed, small scars will occur on the base of the nose, but they are usually not noticeable. Depending on the severity of the deviation, septoplasty may be performed in:

  • A surgeon’s office
  • An outpatient surgery center
  • A hospital as an outpatient
  • A hospital as an inpatient

What follow-up care is needed after septoplasty?

Your child’s surgeon will provide guidelines for resuming normal activities. Many children are quite active within a few days and able to return to school within one week or so. In some cases, nasal packs or soft plastic splints may be placed in the nostrils to stabilize the septum.

What are the complications associated with nasal surgery?

Children vary greatly in their anatomy and healing ability, and the outcome is never completely predictable. Complications may occur, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Infection
  • Nosebleed
  • Reaction to anesthesia

Short-term side effects of surgery may include:

  • Face will feel puffy
  • Nose may ache
  • Dull headache
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Bruising around the eyes
  • Small amount of bleeding in first few days
  • Small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin’s surface