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Deviated Septum

What is a Deviated Septum?

The nasal septum is made of cartilage and bone. It divides the nose into right and left sides and extends from the tip of the nose to the entrance of the nasopharynx (top of the throat). Most infants are born with a relatively straight septum but through injury, disease or genetic programming it may be come deviated.  The deviation may be severe enough to block the breathing on one or both sides of the nose or contribute to recurrent nasal or sinus infections.

What is Septoplasty?

A septoplasty is a reconstructive surgery performed to correct a deviated nasal septum.

About the Procedure:

The procedure is generally performed through the nostrils but may require a small incision at the base of the nose. During the procedure, badly deviated portions of the septum may be removed entirely or they may be readjusted and reinserted into the nose.

In addition to correcting a deviated nasal septum, a septoplasty may also be performed to correct other problems such as cleft defects that affect the nose and nasal cavity or as an approach to pituitary tumors. 

In the pediatric population, a septoplasty is typically performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure.

The surgeon will provide guidelines for resuming normal activities. Many children are up and around within a few days and able to return to school in a week or so.

What are the Complications associated with Nasal Surgery?

Children vary greatly in their anatomy and healing ability, and the outcome is never completely predictable. Complications may occur, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Hole in the septum
  • Continued nasal obstruction
  • Saddle nose deformity (loss of the structure of the nose)
  • Infection
  • Nosebleed
  • Reaction to the anesthesia

Short-term Side Effects of Surgery may include:

The following short-term side effects may occur. If symptoms do not subside, consult your child's physician.

  • Nasal packs or soft plastic splints placed in nostrils to stabilize septum will block the nose
  • Face will feel puffy
  • Nose may ache
  • Dull headache
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Small amount of bleeding in first few days
  • Small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin's surface

Healing is a slow and gradual process. Some swelling may be present for months, especially in the tip of the nose. Final results of nasal surgery may not be apparent for a year or more.