The wall of cartilage in the center of a person’s nose, known as a septum, is off-center in about 80 percent of people, according to the website of the American Academy of Otolaryngology. An off-center septum is said to be “deviated.” When such septum deviation is extreme, it can block part of your nasal passage, restricting airflow. There are several corrective measures available for people with deviated septums. Some steps for correcting a deviated septum are more extreme than others; you should always start out with the least invasive treatment possible and only go for extreme methods when other methods fail. Additionally, frequent doctor consultation is an important part of any deviated septum treatment regimen.
1. Take antihistamine medication as a preventative measure to help avoid a runny nose and resulting discomfort, postnasal dripping or sinus infections. According to the Mayo Clinic, “avoiding a runny nose is important when you have a deviated septum because the mucus can become blocked in your narrow nasal passage.”
2. Use nasal cortisone spray as prescribed and directed by a doctor. This method of treatment reduces nasal inflammation, further preventing runny noses.
3. Use decongestant medication to reduce congestion, keeping your nasal passages open. Congestion can make it harder to breathe, especially when you already have difficulty breathing because of the septum deviation.
4. Obtain septoplastic surgery, if necessary. Septoplasty involves surgically repositioning the septum, correcting the deviation. While this is obviously more invasive than drug treatments, it will permanently fix the problem. This is only for patients whose deviation is not manageable using basic medications or people who experience advanced symptoms, identified by the Mayo Clinic as “significant airway obstruction, chronic sinusitis or frequent nosebleeds.”
5. Undergo rhinoplastic surgery if the external appearance of the nose is also bothersome. During septoplasty, some patients opt for rhinoplastic nasal reconstruction to provide cosmetic changes along with the medically necessary changes to the person’s septum.