Breathing problems are a serious issue, and can affect overall quality of life in some cases. Unfortunately, breathing problems are often caused by genetics—imperfections in the natural structure and functionality of the nose. Many patients seek rhinoplasty surgery to correct these kinds of breathing problems, and one of the most common causes of functional issues of the nose is the deviated septum. The septum is the wall separating the two nasal passages, and though this wall is ideally straight, many people have some degree of “deviation” or crookedness/unevenness in the septum.
How Common is a Deviated Septum, and Do I Have One?
The numbers will probably surprise you. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, it is estimated that 80% of people have some degree of deviation in the septum, though many are not aware that their septum is off-center, because it does not cause any problems. This is usually because the deviation is so minor that it is not worth even considering. A true deviated septum requires that the septum is significantly off-center.
What Problems Can A Deviated Septum Cause?
Breathing problems are the most common sign of a deviated septum. This may be more pronounced in one side of the nose than the other. Another potential problem with deviated septum is frequent sinus infections. These are caused by poor drainage due to the crookedness of the septum. These issues can range from mild to severe, but can affect overall quality of life.
How Rhinoplasty Can Help
Rhinoplasty for a deviated septum is known as septoplasty, and it is a surgical procedure that is used to straighten the septum and even out the nasal passages. Septoplasty is often performed through internal incisions, making the swelling from the surgery less noticeable, and resulting in no visible scarring. Following a modest recovery period, patients should experience marked improvement in nasal function.
Is it Worth Surgery?
It is totally up to the patient as to whether or not a deviated septum is causing sufficient discomfort to warrant surgery. For some people, breathing problems are just a minor annoyance—not worth the expense, discomfort, and recovery of surgery. For others, however, the procedure can greatly improve quality of life by improving nasal function.
Side Benefits of Surgery
For many people who are interested in septoplasty, one of the benefits of the surgery is the opportunity to combine the procedure with cosmetic rhinoplasty. While technically two different procedures, many patients elect to have both cosmetic and functional improvements made simultaneously. Only one surgery and one recovery period is necessary, making a combination procedure a great option for patients who are interested in improving the aesthetics of their nose in addition to fixing a deviated septum.
Is Functional Rhinoplasty Covered By Insurance?
Depending on the insurance plan and the degree of the problems caused by the septal deviation, patients may be able to seek some coverage for septoplasty. However, the onus is on the patient to understand their policy to ensure coverage, which can be difficult to obtain. In addition, any costs relating to cosmetic improvements are always the responsibility of the patient.
Got Questions? Talk to a Specialist
If you’re considering functional rhinoplasty, then you’re sure to have a lot of questions. Research online can give you the basics, but nothing beats a consultation with a rhinoplasty specialist. Because the procedure is so difficult and complex, it pays to choose a surgeon with extensive experience and concentration in the field of rhinoplasty, a board certified doctor who dedicates a great deal of time to the advancement of his or her surgical skills.
Dr. Shervin Naderi has specialized his practice so much that he works almost exclusively on rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty of all types, and his skill has helped many patients achieve beautiful results. Dr. Naderi is so skilled in the art of rhinoplasty that other surgeons often refer complex cases to him, as he has the experience to produce improvement in even the most difficult situations. If you would like to discuss the possibility of functional rhinoplasty with Dr. Naderi, call the Naderi Center in Herndon (), VA, or Chevy Chase (), MD, to schedule your consultation today.