Allergy, Nose & Sinus

Deviated nasal septum – What you need to know

February 3, 2020
slider-img

What is a deviated nasal septum (DNS)?

 

A nasal septum is a thin bony-cartilaginous wall that separates the nasal cavity into a right side and a left side (Figures 1a-b). A deviated nasal septum is a condition in which the nasal septum is crooked, bent or shifted to one side of the nasal cavity (Figure 2). A significant deviated nasal septum may result in one nasal passage being smaller.

 

 

Figure 1a – Location of the nasal septum in the nose

 

 

Figure 1b – The side view of a nasal septum showing the bony and cartilaginous parts.

 

 

Figure 2 – A comparison between a normal septum and a deviated nasal septum (in this case deviated to the patient’s right)

 

 

What causes a deviated nasal septum?

 

A deviated nasal septum may be due to:

 

  1. A condition that is present at birth
  2. An injury to the nose – e.g. trauma to the nose from fights, sporting injuries or road traffic accidents

 

 

What are the symptoms of a deviated nasal septum?

 

Majority of the time, a mildly deviated nasal septum does not cause any symptoms and can be left alone. However, depending on the severity of a deviated nasal septum, it can cause the following symptoms:

 

  1. Blocked nose (on one or both sides of the nose)
  2. Frequent nosebleeds (epistaxis)
  3. Recurring sinus infections (recurrent sinusitis)

 

 

How is a deviated nasal septum treated?

 

There is no medication that can treat a deviated nasal septum. It is a structural problem and can only be corrected by surgery. The surgery to correct a deviated nasal septum is called Septoplasty.

 

 

When do I need a Septoplasty?

 

Septoplasty is recommended if you have:

 

  1. Significant symptoms from a deviated nasal septum
  2. A deviated nasal septum that is preventing access to the nose or sinus during surgery (e.g. during sinus surgery or during surgery to stop a bleeding vessel behind a deviated nasal septum)

 

 

What does Septoplasty involves?

 

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to straighten a deviated (crooked or bent) nasal septum. The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia (with the patient completely asleep). The operation is performed through the nose with no external cuts or wounds on the face. Some surgeons may perform the surgery with the aid of an endoscope. During a typical septoplasty, a surgical cut (incision) is made on the one side of the nasal septum inside the nose (Fig 3b). The lining of the nasal septum (mucoperichondrium) is carefully lifted (Fig 3c & 3d). Underlying bone and cartilage that is crooked is removed or shifted. It is important to understand that some portions of the nasal cartilage and bone may not be removed because they are important in maintaining the structure of the external nose.

 

Once the desired straightening of the nasal septum is achieved, the incision is sutured with an absorbable material that will dissolve on its own with time (Fig 3e). To keep the shifted septum in place and to prevent the accumulation of blood underneath the mucosa, plastic splints may be inserted (Fig 3f). These splints are usually removed a week later in the clinic. Quite often, a septoplasty is performed together with an inferior turbinate reduction procedure .

 

 

Figures 3a-f – How a Septoplasty is performed

 

 

What are the possible risks and complications from Septoplasty?

 

Septoplasty is, in general, a safe surgical procedure. However, as with all surgical procedures, there are some risks involved. The most common risk is bleeding (<5%). Rare complications of Septoplasty include infection, perforation of the septum, altered shape of the nose and a decreased sense of smell.

 

Mild remnant deviation of the nose may occur after Septoplasty as structural portions of the septal cartilage or bone may have been preserved during the operation. To minimize risks of bleeding and infection, it is important for patients to keep their nose clean by frequent nasal irrigation.

 

  

What is the recovery after Septoplasty?

 

The surgery can be done as a Day Surgery Procedure (patient goes home on the same day) or as an Inpatient Procedure where the patient is warded overnight. If the surgery is performed together with an inferior turbinate reduction procedure, nasal packings may be inserted. The nasal packings are usually removed 1 – 2 days after surgery. Patients will be given oral antibiotics, pain relievers and a nasal wash (douche).

 

The patient is usually reviewed in the clinic 5 – 10 days after surgery. During this time, the ENT surgeon will remove the nasal splints and clean the nasal cavity with a nasal suction. The subsequent clinic reviews depend on how well the septum is healing. Although the wound heals rapidly and most patients can return to normal activities of daily living after one week, the overall healing process of the septum can take up to six months to a year. The septum may take some time to settle into its final shape and form. The improvement in breathing should be noticeable after the first clinic visit (once the splints are out and the nose has been cleaned by your surgeon). The patient should expect further improvement in breathing with time as the septum heals.

 

 

Are there any food restrictions after Septoplasty?

 

Although there is no evidence that any particular food will worsen your recovery or outcome of your surgery, it is advisable to avoid very hot and spicy food and to avoid excessive alcohol intake in the 1st week after surgery. The increased blood flow associated with facial flushing may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding from the incompletely-healed tissues of the nose.

 

 

When can I resume heavy physical activity?

 

As the healing process varies from person to person, it is generally advised that patients should avoid any heavy physical activity (e.g. weight lifting, intense aerobic exercises) for at least 2 weeks after the surgery.

 

 

Best wishes,

 

Dr Gan Eng Cern
ENT Specialist Singapore

When Should You See An ENT Specialist In Singapore?

  • Any Ear, Nose or Throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned of
  • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

Dr Gan Eng Cern

Dr Gan Eng Cern is a fellowship trained Consultant Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Surgeon. He completed his ENT training in Singapore and obtained his subspecialty training in Rhinology and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery at the world renowned St Paul’s Sinus Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He was also a Senior Clinical Lecturer at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. Dr Gan was an avid researcher with numerous publications in reputable international ENT journals. He was also an invited speaker and surgical dissection teacher in many ENT conferences and courses.

Awards

  • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist
    (Expat Living Singapore)
  • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
  • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
  • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
  • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College
    of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical
    paper)
  • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health,
    Singapore)
  • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award

Qualifications

  • MBBS - Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
  • MRCS (Edin) - Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • MMed (ORL) - Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
  • FAMS - Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern

1

Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.

2

Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.

3

Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.

4

Financial Options

There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

Photo Gallery

  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img
  • clinic_img

Our Location

Visit Our Clinic

Fill up the form and our clinic staff will get back to you within a few hours!




Prefer Whatsapp? Message us directly to book an appointment with our Dr Gan.

Dr Gan’s Blog

Read some of our latest articles about Ear, Nose and Throat ( ENT ) Health.