A deviated septum is a common condition that involves a displacement of the septum, the wall that separates the nostrils, to one side of the nose. In adults, the septum is made of cartilage and bone, and helps to support the nose and its mucous membranes, and enables regular air flow. A deviated septum often develops as a result of an injury to the nose. This condition may cause one nasal passage to be smaller than the other, which can affect breathing if the difference is great enough. A deviated septum may also be the underlying cause of sinus problems, snoring or sleep apnea.
Causes of a Deviated Septum
In most cases, a deviated septum is caused by an injury to the nose that knocks the septum out of place. Nose injuries are often the result of car accidents or playing sports. Some deviated septa occur during fetal development.
Symptoms of a Deviated Septum
As a result of the uneven nasal passages caused by a deviated septum, a patient may have difficulty breathing. Additional symptoms may include:
- Nasal congestion
- Frequent sinus infections
This condition can also lead to facial pain, headaches and postnasal drip, which can significantly affect quality of life. A deviated septum may also cause snoring or sleep apnea. Those with only minor displacement may not even be aware of the deviated septum and experience no symptoms at all.
Diagnosis of a Deviated Septum
To diagnose a deviated symptom, a doctor will perform a thorough physical examination, and review all symptoms. In addition, an endoscopy may be performed. An endoscope and a bright light are used to open up the nostrils and nasal passages, enabling a thorough visual evaluation.
Ear infections, also known as otitis media, are a common childhood condition that involves a buildup of excess fluid within the ear. This condition causes pain, hearing loss, fever, irritability and difficulty sleeping, and is most common in children between the ages of four months and five years. While most cases go away on their own within a few days, some children may develop recurring ear infections that do not respond to treatment.
Children who suffer from repeat ear infections or fluid in the ear may benefit from ear tubes. Ear tubes are plastic inserts that are surgically placed in the eardrum to help air to enter the middle ear, allow fluid out of the ear, prevent future buildup of fluid and restore hearing. Most patients experience a significant reduction in the number of ear infections from this treatment, as well as relief from hearing loss and associated symptoms.
Indications for Ear Tubes
Ear tubes are usually considered when a child has fluid in both ears for more than 3 months or has repeated ear infections. It may also be performed for patients with evidence of hearing loss or a speech delay, or for ear infections caused by structural damage to the ear. Your child’s doctor will decide whether or not to recommend surgery based on a thorough evaluation of each patient’s individual condition, age and overall health. The tubes are usually effective in preventing ear infection and the buildup of pressure and fluid, but these conditions can return after the tubes are gone.
Ear Tube Procedure
Ear tube surgery, known as a myringotomy, involves a tiny incision in the eardrum. Any fluid in the ear is drained through the hole before the tube is inserted. The ear tube helps keep the hole open so that ongoing drainage can occur and the risk of ear infections will be significantly reduced. This surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia and only takes 10-15 minutes.
Sinus surgery is performed to remove blockages and enlarge the openings that drain the sinuses. The sinuses are the hollow spaces behind the bones of the upper face, which can become blocked and inflamed, causing a buildup of mucus. This procedure can effectively treat conditions such as persistent nasal congestion, recurring sinus infections, polyps and tumors. Patients may turn to surgery to treat chronic sinus conditions or after other treatments including medications and nasal sprays have been unsuccessful in relieving symptoms.
Types of Sinus Surgery
Sinus surgery is a traditional treatment option that clears blocked sinuses using surgical instruments to remove bone and tissue to enlarge the sinus opening. The approach taken will be determined by several factors, including which sinuses are affected. The goal of sinus surgery is to reduce blockage and improve sinus drainage. A surgeon will enlarge the opening of the sinuses, remove any polyps, and correct any defects that contribute to nasal obstruction. There are several types of sinus surgery that may be performed, depending on the patient's individual situation.
A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure during which a thin balloon catheter is inserted into the nose. The balloon is gradually inflated to relieve blockages and widen the sinus pathways.
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery, or FESS
FESS is the most commonly performed sinus surgery. The operation is performed through the nose with tiny instruments while a thin tube with a tiny camera helps the surgeon visualize the area on a computer screen.
Image-guided surgery allows surgeons to operate with a more precise visualization of the sinuses by combining endoscopic techniques with innovative electromagnetic imaging.
During the Caldwell-Luc procedure, the maxillary sinus is accessed with an incision through the upper mouth. A small part of the maxillary bone is removed to promote drainage of the maxillary sinuses.
Septoplasty is a surgical procedure to correct a deviated or deformed septum. The septum is the partition between the two nostrils. This corrective surgery opens the nasal passages and proper drainage of the sinuses resumes.
A polypectomy may be performed alone or in conjunction with another type of sinus surgery. It is a surgical procedure to remove polyps in the nose or sinuses which may be obstructing nasal drainage.