Contrary to popular wisdom, not everyone who gets a nose job is doing it for vanity’s sake. A nose job, or rhinoplasty, can help improve and correct breathing problems. Not everyone that needs a rhinoplasty needs it because their nose is too large for shaped funny—some people seek out treatment to improve their quality of life.
The most common cause of breathing problems that require surgery to correct is a severely deviated septum. The septum is the piece of Cartilage that runs down the center of your nose and divides the nostrils into their left and right canals. However, if someone’s septum doesn’t sit at the center and divide the nostrils evenly, it can lead to breathing problems.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, 80 percent of people have a septum that is deviated to some degree. However, minor deviations rarely cause breathing issues or require medical attention. It is only windy septum is severely deviated that an ENT Doctor needs to examine it.
A deviated septum is not necessarily a condition a person was born with. Symptoms can’t be deviated due to injury, such as a broken nose from contact sports sports or due to a car accident. Deviated septums also have a tendency to worsen with age.
Take a moment and consider the ways a deviated septum can present difficulties. Think of how awful it feels for one nostril to be clogged with mucus when you have a sinus infection. Now imagine if your nostril was unusually narrow and you could not properly drain your sinuses. Deviated septums can prolong and exacerbate sinus infections. In some cases, a person with a deviated septum can only sleep on one side of the body because pressure from lying on the other side makes it impossible for them to breathe through their nose.
A deviated septum can also lead to insomnia, difficulty sleeping, loud snoring, and sleep apnea. That is a lots of trouble for a minor problem that a quick surgery can repair.
How Rhinoplasty Can Help
Reconstructive surgery to correct a deviated septum is called septoplasty. This is a form of rhinoplasty used to correct problems caused by deviated septum. The procedure is relatively easy. It takes about 90 minutes and does not always require general anesthesia. In some cases, your surgeon may decide to use only local anesthesia.
The procedure involves the surgeon cutting into your septum and removing excess cartilage or bone. In doing so, the surgeon straighten the septum and provides a clearer nasal passageway. Silicone splints are used to support the septum until the effects of surgery are healed.
After the surgery, you will be monitored in case complications develop. However, barring rare incidents, septoplasty is a generally safe procedure. The primary risks are a decreased sense of smell and a change in the overall shape of the nose.
Insurance will usually cover this type of surgery. If it doesn’t, septoplasty can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $30,000.
Deviated Septum Symptoms
Not sure if you have a deviated septum or just a stuffy nose? Keep an eye out for these common symptoms.
A deviated septum you’ve had since birth will feel “normal” to you. You may not realize something is wrong. However, one of the foremost signs is noisy breathing during sleep. If your partner notices that you breathe or snore loudly while you sleep, or you notice the same symptoms from a child, it can be a sign of a deviated septum.
If you’ve been injured recently and feel like the injury may have caused a deviated septum, there are several things to look for.
Nosebleeds can increase due to dryness in the deviated septum. You may also feel facial pain on one side of your face. If you feel like your nose is obstructed on one side, especially when you have an upper respiratory infection, you should get checked out. You should never try to diagnose yourself for a deviated septum. However, a doctor can diagnose the problem relatively quickly with a nasal examination.
Sinus infections are also another common symptom.
Get the help you need
Ran Y Rubinstein is the founder of the Hudson Valley Sinus Center. He is one of the leading ENT and facial surgeons in the New York Area.
If you struggle to breathe through your nose due to a deviated septum or other problem, don’t let it continue to dominate your life. Its worth it to correct problems while the opportunity is present. Struggling to breathe is an obstacle you do not want to deal with in your daily life. Take the necessary steps to ensure you are allowing maximum airflow throughout your body.