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Nasal septum deviation

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What is nasal septum deviation?

The nasal septum is the thin wall that divides the nostrils. Its deviation occurs because it displaces towards one of the two sides. In most cases, one side of the nostril becomes smaller than the other while, in others, it can obstruct the nose, affecting the flow of air that the patient breathes. 

Some cases of nasal septum deviation cause nasal obstruction that must be treated to alleviate the patient’s discomfort.  

Anatomy of the Nasal Septum:

The nasal septum is located in the central part of the nose and divides the two nasal cavities into left and right sides. It is composed of an anterior cartilaginous part and a posterior bony part. 

The bony portion is formed by the vomer at the bottom and the ethmoid bone at the top. The cartilage of the nasal septum provides structure and support to the nose.

Function of the Nasal Septum:

It plays an important role in breathing and protecting the airways. It helps direct the flow of air through the nasal cavities and filters dust, allergens, and foreign particles present in the inhaled air. It also participates in the sense of smell, as the olfactory nerve endings are located in the mucous membrane that lines the nasal septum.

Causes of Nasal Septum Deviation:

Congenital Causes:

Nasal septum deviation can result from abnormal development during gestation. Genetic and hereditary factors may contribute to this condition. 

Acquired Causes:

They can include nasal traumas such as blows or sports injuries. Aging, osteoporosis, and certain diseases such as chronic rhinitis can also contribute to nasal septum deviation.

Symptoms of Deviated Nasal Septum:

Identifying a deviated septum can be difficult as it causes confusing symptoms. This condition is usually diagnosed when attending to other nose-related ailments. 

Symptoms can vary in each individual, but the most common ones include:

Airflow obstruction:

Severe nasal septum deviation can make it difficult to breathe through one or both nasal cavities. This can lead to a sensation of persistent nasal congestion.

Facial pain and headaches:

Chronic nasal obstruction and altered airflow can cause pressure and pain in the face, especially around the paranasal sinuses. Recurrent headaches may also occur.

Nosebleeds and noisy breathing:

A deviated septum can lead to increased susceptibility to nosebleeds. Additionally, it can cause whistling sounds or nasal congestion during breathing.

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Diagnosis of Deviated Septum:

It requires a clinical evaluation and may involve the following methods:

  1.  Physical examination: The otolaryngologist will examine the inside of the nose using a special instrument called a nasal speculum to assess the deviation of the septum. 
  2. Imaging tests: X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans may be requested to obtain more detailed images of the nasal septum and determine the degree of deviation. 
  3. Nasal endoscopy: In some cases, a nasal endoscopy may be performed to evaluate the condition of the paranasal sinuses and detect any other abnormalities that may contribute to the symptoms.

Remember that you can rely on Dr. Lech, an otolaryngologist in Panama, to treat symptoms related to your nasal septum

Nasal septum deviation treatments

The current recommended solution is a surgical procedure to correct and align the nasal septum. 

Prior to the application of surgery, the ENT physician exhausts the previous pharmacological resources that seek to de-inflate the area to recover the airflow. 

Here are the surgical options that are offered: 


Through this surgical process, the deviations of the nasal pyramid are corrected and the internal position of the septum is improved, offering the patient an improvement in terms of their discomfort and also an aesthetic change. 

The process consists of permeabilizing the sides of the nose and restoring the possibility of continuous air movement. 


It refers to a more artistic surgery that seeks to obtain an aesthetic and functional result of the nose. In this treatment, all the necessary means are applied to model and correct the nose both internally and externally.

Do you identify with the symptoms exposed? Do you think you need medical attention? Dr. Lech wants to help you find your wellness

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Types of nasal septum deviations

Nasal septum deviations can be unilateral or bilateral. To identify them, the ENT specialist performs an image exam, nasal endoscopy, to identify the type of deviation that may be present:

C-shaped deviation: It is a double nasal septum that starts at the beginning, opens in a curve to one side and ends in the turbinate of the nose. The curve usually affects only one side of the nostrils.

S-shaped deviation: It is the irregular growth of the nasal septum that oscillates two or three curves affecting both nostrils.

Causes of deviated septum

Deviated nasal septum can occur in fetal development, during pregnancy or childbirth microfractures can occur that weaken the septal cartilage and cause the deviation or increase the risk of its formation. 

Also, septal deviation can occur as a result of trauma. A strong blow can damage the morphology of the wall of the nostrils and its classification will depend on the impact and direction. 

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Frequently asked questions

The nose, throat and ear organs are connected to each other. Therefore, if there is an obstruction in the nose due to a deviated septum, there may be any other discomfort in the throat that has to do with irritation of the area or infection when exposed to airborne pathogens.

Yes, infections caused by inflammation of the turbinates due to a deviated septum can produce a complication at the ear level. The nose, ear and throat areas are connected to each other. Therefore, it is likely that if one is affected, the rest will suffer symptoms as a consequence.

Having a deviated septum can produce several consequences in the patient, such as:

  • Obstruction of the nasal passages, difficulty breathing well, decreased oxygen level in the body. 
  • Frequent infections of the paranasal sinuses: these infections can cause fever and can be complicated along with the organs of the nose and ear. 
  • Hemorrhages. 

It is estimated that within 4 to 6 weeks the patient can resume their daily routine. Each case is different and your specialist will define the periods in which you can add actions to your routine. 

Other recommendations such as rest, no sun exposure and sleeping at a 45-degree angle will be stipulated by the specialist according to what they consider appropriate, evaluating your medical history and regenerative capacity. 

Want to relieve your nasal septum deviation? You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Lech who is an otolaryngologist physician in Panama

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Laura Ruiz Ruiz
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Yanixa Baloy
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