Nasal septum deviation
A deviated septum refers to the condition when the thin wall between the nasal passages is displaced to one side. One nasal passage becomes smaller due to the displacement or deviation of the nasal passages. A person may have difficulty in breathing when his/her septum is severely deviated and it blocks one side of the nose and this reduces the airflow. Severe deviation may also cause a person to experience bleeding or crusting. Deviation of the nasal septum may cause swelling of the tissues that line the nose and this may cause nasal obstruction.
A deviated septum in the nose may occur due to abnormal development of the foetus and the deformity is apparent at birth. An injury to the nose is also another obvious reason that can result in the nasal septum to get displaced. Generally infants suffer from an injury during childbirth and in the case of others, different types of accidents may cause the septum to get deviated. Normally, injury to the nose occurs due to playing contact sports, roughhousing or during motor accidents.
The initial treatment for a deviated septum includes managing the symptoms with the help of decongestants, antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. If a person still suffers from the symptoms of a deviated septum even after medical treatment, a doctor may recommend septoplasty or surgical repair of the deviated septum.
The initial treatment consists of using medications. Decongestants are used to reduce the swelling of the nasal tissues and they help to keep the airways open from both sides. This medication is available as a nasal spray and a pill. However, a person should be used with caution as a person may cause a person to become dependent on it and can cause the symptoms to get worse. The antihistamines are medications that help to prevent the symptoms of allergy like a running nose and obstructed nose. They may also help to treat some non-allergic conditions like cold. A doctor may also recommend nasal steroid sprays to reduce the inflammation in the nasal passage and to help with the drainage and obstruction. These nasal steroid sprays actually require about one to three weeks time to produce the maximum results.
A person experiencing symptoms in spite of medical therapy may have to consider surgery for the deviation. This surgery, known as septoplasty, is a surgical procedure that is fully done through the open nostrils. Normally, general or local anesthetic is used and it requires 1 to 2 hours to complete the procedure. However, if a person suffers from severe deformity, nasal surgery may be recommended in addition to septoplasty. Sometimes, rhinoplasty or reshaping the nose is done to modify the bone and cartilage of the nose.
A person will be eligible for treatment after a doctor has diagnosed him/her to be suffering from this condition. Some of the symptoms that a person may experience if he/she suffers from a deviated septum are: facial pain, noisy breathing during sleep, nosebleeds, obstruction of one or both the nostrils, preference for sleeping on a particular side and awareness of the nasal cycle. A person experiencing some or most of these symptoms is eligible for treatment.
A person who does not experience any of the symptoms associated with nasal deviation is not eligible for treatment. A doctor has to diagnose a person to be suffering from this condition.The doctor does the examination with the help of a bright light and an instrument to spread open the nostrils. Without the diagnosis, a person is not eligible for treatment.
Nasal decongestants may produce side-effects like high blood pressure, sneezing, dryness, burning, stinging, fast heartbeat, rebound congestion and local irritation. The side-effects of antihistamines may include nausea and vomiting, restlessness, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, trouble with urination and confusion. Nasal steroid sprays may also produce side-effects like muscle or joint pain, nausea, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, dryness of the nose or throat and blood-tinged mucus. Septoplasty may cause discoloration of the skin of the nose, build-up of fluid in the nose, perforation of the septum, surgical scars, uneven appearance of the nose and numbness in the nose, cheeks and upper lip.
A person who has undergone surgery would require a few days to recover from the after-effects. Normally, a person will have to take rest for a few days before he/she can go back to resuming his/her normal physical activities. A person who has undergone treatment to correct a deviated septum should wear proper helmets and headgear while they are playing sports and should also wear the seatbelt while driving or riding a car.
Treatment with nasal steroid sprays take about 2-3 weeks time to alleviate the problems associated with a deviated septum. Septoplasty is a procedure that is generally performed within an hour or two. The patient will generally be able to go back home the same day. However, he/she should avoid engaging in outdoor sport or any other outdoor physical activity for a few days after the surgery. Finally, the recovery period depends on the severity of the patient’s condition.
Antihistamines can be obtained within a price range of Rs 450. 100 mcg of nasal steroid spray can be obtained for a price of Rs 191 in our country. The cost of septoplasty varies from hospital to hospital. However, the cost may vary between Rs 18,500 at local nursing homes and Rs 1.35 lakh at a premier hospital. A person may have to shell out anything between Rs 40000 and Rs 2 lakhs to undergo rhinoplasty in India.
Medications and/or surgery may help a person to deal with the complications associated with a deviated septum and may also correct the deformity. However, a person may again suffer from the same condition if he/she gets involved in an accident while playing outdoors or while taking a ride in a car. So it will not be prudent to say that the results will be absolutely conclusive.