Is it possible to replace a totally absent nasal septum with a structure that can support moisture producing membranes? If so, from where would you transplant such membranes? (I know the cartilage can come from a pinna.)
I suffer chronic, positively debilitating headaches 24/7, a parched throat, and epistaxis multiple times a day due to the inability to humidify the air that I breathe. I think I have “Empty Nose Syndrome”, because I share at least 90% of the long list of symptoms on the support group web site. However, everything I have read about ENS just warns practitioners against performing turbinectomy (advice too late for me), not how to fix the problem one we have it.
I try to stay in my “environmental bubble” where I strive to keep the relative humidity between 40-45%. When I must go out, I use a spray bottle of water in my car to raise the humidity.
What worries me is that it is fairly common for ENS patients to commit suicide because they see it as the only means to escape the constant torment of this condition. It is even more worrisome that I completely empathize with them. Simply breathing in the cold, dry winter air is like rubbing sandpaper on sunburn.
I’ve gone through over a dozen specialists in the past 3 years, including a Department Head at the UVA Medical Center, but I have yet to find any hope of relief from this pain other than massive doses of narcotics and steroids. The pain keeps getting worse, I am nearly blinded by it and I can hardly walk straight because of the inflammation in my head. At her wit’s end, my PCP must keep increasing my narcotic doses as I habituate to them to keep me functioning on a basic level. I am ready to try anything, even an experimental surgery.
I had a turbinate resection in 1985 because I could not get air through my nose when lying down. The surgery was successful and served me well for 15+ years. My septum became perforated in the late 90s. Each time a scab broke off, it would take some live skin with it until my septum was completely gone by about 2008. This probably resulted from too much nose-blowing due to severe allergies, and crusting and scabbing of mucous membranes every winter.
Can ANYthing be done?
MEJ DOB – 1950
At this point in time you need to focus more on your coping mechanisms and stress control rather than the nose and its problems. You must seek mental help to allow you to cope with this severe condition that you have. The issues that you have are NOT simply in your head BUT you do need to see a psychiatrist if these issues are driving you to suicidal ideations. This is a serious matter!
There are plenty of reasons for people to have suicidal ideations. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is a common cause of suicide or suicidal ideations. Many chronic and debilitating medical conditions that affect people’s lives on a constant daily basis can drive one to consider or commit suicide. YOU MUST SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY REGARDLESS OF THE NOSE AND ITS ISSUES!
The internal function of the nose is very complex. The function and health of the internal “skin” lining known as mucosa is also complex. The common cold or sinusitis can damage this lining. So can surgery, infections, constant irritation and medication and drug use and abuse.
If your septum is perforated, it can be repaired with various techniques. The newest technique is the use of Radial Forearm Free Flap Grafts.
The fact is that there are many people living very productive and functional lives while coping with some debilitating anatomic or physiologic conditions. You need to concentrate more on your mental health and happiness and then or meanwhile seek out reconstructive surgeons like Dr. Gary Burget in Chicago who may have suggestions for your septal repair. You have to set your expectations properly and focus more on coping rather than complete resolution of the condition and its symptoms.
I wish you lots of luck.