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Nasal Septum
nasal septum

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Nasal septum

The vast majority of people have some degree of septal deviation. The nasal septum is the large cartilage in your nose that divides your nose into two cavities - left and right nostrils. The nasal septum and nasal cavities are lined with a thin membrane tissue called mucosa. When this tissue gets irritated due to bacteria, viruses and other irritants, one may develop Nasal Polyps, Post Nasal Drip, Sinusitis, and if severe enough a septum deviation.

Nasal deviation is not often a problem, but sometimes the cartilage is too deformed that it bends and blocks one air passage. This leads to impaired breathing due to the mucus collection and polyps may develop. Most often, when a nasal septum is deviate one nostril is affected.

Other symptoms of nasal septum includes sinus and airway blockage, nosebleeds (very common), headaches or colds (occasional), as well as chronic sinusitis.

What causes Nasal Septum Deviation?

Septal deviation can be caused by an injury to the septum from a punch to the nose or during water polo. If the deviation is too severe, it can obstruct nasal drainage and mimic sinusitis, or it can predispose one to secondary sinusitis. Fortunately a deviated septum can be corrected with an operation called a septoplasty. However, if a surgery is done incorrectly, it may serve to exaggerate the deformity.

The nasal septum has three main components

Nose fractures may occur due to the irritation of each or a combination of the following components of the nasal septum:

  • The perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone
  • The vomer - Is a thin flat bone that forms the posteroinferoir part of the nasal septum.
  • The septal cartilage - The perpendicular plate of the ethmoid, forming the superior part of the septum, is very thin and descends from the surface of the ethmoid bone

Fractures of the nose are quite common because its bony parts, the perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone and the vomer are too thin. Usually the fractures are transverse. If the injury results from a direct blow, the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone is often fractured.

The nasal septum may also be displaced or deviate from the median plate as a result of a birth injury or congenital malformation. More often the deviation is caused by postnatal trauma (e.g. during a fist fight).

Treatment options for Deviated Nasal Septum

As already mentioned, you doctor will recommend a septoplasty for you nasal septum deviation. Septoplasty is a surgical procedure in which a deviate nasal septum is straightened. There is no other medicine or cure for a deformed nasal cartilage, septoplasty is the only effective treatment.

Septoplasty is sometimes referred to as septal reconstruction or submucous resection of the septum (SMR). When you septum is deviate, the examination of the inside of your nose for polyps, tumors, epistaxis , and sinus purposes is difficult. So septoplasty help straighten your nasal septum for both improved examination and breathing.

When the nasal septum is deformed, there is no medicine that will cause it to be straightened, so surgery is the only solution to this problem. Septoplasty takes about an hour to be performed, but swelling and irritation may delay final improvement for about four to six weeks.

Topics of interest on nasal disorders:
  1. Asthma
  2. Sinusitis
  3. Nasal polyps

Moore , K.L. (1985). Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Second edition. Library of Congress Catalog in Publication Data. Toronto : USA











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