The “deviated nose” or the nose that is off the center of the face is a problem as it can create both an appearance and functional problem for the patient. Often it is the result of an injury or even an injury at birth. The problems that occur in this situation is that the nose may be over to one side and the partition that we call the “septum” is pushed to the opposite side creating obstruction so the patient has trouble breathing.
Symptoms of a deviated septum include:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose: When one side of your nose is obstructed, breathing becomes difficult and many patients begin breathing primarily through their mouths.
- Nasal congestion: Congestion can lead to ear injections or chronic coughing causing patients to rely on decongestants and other medication.
Recurrent sinus infections: If the nasal passages are blocked they will not drain properly and will most likely cause a backup of liquid leading to a sinus injection. Open airways will help to prevent frequent infection.
- Nosebleeds: Because the tissue over the septum is so thin, it can become inflamed due to nose blowing or dryness.
Sleep problems, such as loud snoring or sleep apnea: Blocked airways cause patients to become “mouth breathers” which quickly leads to snoring. The membranes of the throat become dry and create loud sounds both inhaling and exhaling.
- Headache postnasal drip: A deviated septum causes fluid to back up in the nasal cavity which causes pressure. The pressure will continue to build causing a headache. Postnasal drip is the result of minimal amounts of fluid leaking from the blockage. The treatment for this type of problem is to not only bring the nose back to the center of the face but to also bring the septum back in line creating a symmetrical appearance and opening up the nasal airway. There are often other problems that may be present such as a large dorsal or “hump” on the top of the nose as well as distortion around the tip of the nose.
All of these deformities can be corrected with Septoplasty where inner and outer surgery is performed to improve appearance and function. During this procedure the surgeon, working through the inside of the nose, makes a small incision in the septum and then removes the excess bone or cartilage required to even out the breathing space of the nostrils. Dr. Maloney uses computer imaging to make sure that there is a clear visual understanding so that the proposed result can take place and the patient has a realistic expectation. For many patients the before and after pictures can be quite overwhelming.