Before and After image of deviated septum

5 Signs You May Have a Deviated Septum

No nose is perfect. In fact, most of us have noses that are slightly crooked and could benefit from deviated septum surgery (septoplasty)—a procedure where the center of the nose, or septum, is straightened and aligned.

You’ve surely seen people with severely curved noses. They’re obvious candidates for deviated septum surgery. Yet many of us have deviated septums and that condition can lead to trouble breathing and sleeping and is often related to the potentially life-threatening condition of sleep apnea.

Read: What is Sleep Apnea?

Here are 5 symptoms of a deviated septum. Not all people with a deviated septum will experience these symptoms. However, if you recognize these symptoms, our ear, nose and throat doctors in Salt Lake City can diagnose and treat your deviated septum.

Deviated Septum Symptom #1: Difficulty Breathing

A misaligned septum makes it more difficult for air to pass through the nostrils and into your lungs. As a result, you may encounter trouble breathing—especially when you have a cold or allergies. Those conditions make your nasal passages swell and narrow, which further constrains your ability to breathe.

Deviated Septum Symptom #2: Regular Nose Bleeds

In some patients, a deviated septum leads to regular nosebleeds. That’s because the curvature of the septum creates turbulence as air passes through the nostril. Think about your septum like the hood of a car or an airline wing. The more aerodynamic the surface area, the more easily air passes past the septum (or the wing of an airplane). In noses, the more turbulence on the septum, the drier it becomes and that can lead to a bloody nose.

Deviated Septum Symptom #3: Frequent Sinus Infections or Cold Symptoms

A clogged airway or impaired breathing through your nose often leads to sinus infections, post-nasal drip or what many people simply term “common cold” symptoms. If medicines do not help cure your sinus infections or nasal drip, you should seek help from an otolaryngologist.

Deviated Septum Symptom #4: Facial Pain and Headaches

People with a deviated septum feel “clogged up.” That can lead to headaches and facial pain. In some cases, facial and nose pain is caused by the nasal septum actually contacting the outside wall of your nose. Obviously, that’s a severely deviated septum and one that merits an exam by a trained ENT doctor.

Deviated Septum Symptom #5: Difficulty Sleeping

One or all of these deviated septum symptoms can contribute to great difficulty sleeping. You know the frustration of trying to sleep when you’re heavily congested. Now imagine that condition nearly every time you lay your head on a pillow. A deviated septum can cause you to lose sleep and that can make you irritable. More critically, a deviated symptom can contribute to sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder and can prove fatal.

Get Relief from a Deviated Septum

The good news with a deviated septum is that it can be surgically repaired. Our Utah ENT doctors perform rhinoplasties (nose jobs) on a regular basis and can help diagnose, treat and repair your deviated septum. Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to learn more.

Read: 3 Reasons to Get a Nose Job

3 Reasons to Get a Nose Job

Think about your nose for a moment.

For good or bad, it’s one of the first things people notice about your appearance since it sits right in the center of your face. Now follow that thought with this comforting fact: no one’s nose is perfect–even those Hollywood actresses with seemingly flawless features and nostrils have small imperfections.

Noses get noticed. That’s why countless nose jobs (or rhinoplasty if we use the technical name) are performed each year. In Utah, we see the number of Utah nose jobs growing. Part of the reason is the healthy lifestyle Utah people live. All those mountain bike rides, rock climbing, baseball, football and rugby games take their toll on noses. When accidents happen, Utah rhinoplasty procedures usually follow.

Read: The Facts about Rhinoplasty and Reconstructive Nasal Surgery

But accidents aren’t the only reason for a nose job. There are good reasons for a nose job that are both medical and cosmetic. No matter the reason, our Utah ear, nose and throat doctors perform hundreds of nose jobs in Salt Lake City, Draper and Park City each year. Let’s look at 3 reasons to get a nose job.

Reason #1:  Your Nose Is Repaired for Medical Reasons

You’ve likely heard of a deviated septum. A deviated septum is the medical name for a condition where the center cartilage of the nose (the nasal septum) is off-center. A deviated septum creates difficulty breathing through the nose. Typically, the condition is more pronounced on one side of the nose and can sometimes result in sinusitis or sinus infections.

It’s estimated that more than 80-percent of all nasal septums are off-center. When a doctor diagnoses a deviated septum, he or she will perform a septoplasty, which is the surgical correction of a deviated septum. Septoplasties are typically not peformed on patients younger than 18 because the septum grows until age 18.

The Ear, Nose and Throat Center of Salt Lake City realizes great surgical outcomes following septoplasty.

“I truly enjoy seeing how happy people are after a septoplasty when they can breathe through both sides of the nose, often for the first time ever,” says Dr. John Bennett of the Ear, Nose and Throat Center. “Many people don’t realize how much trouble they are having breathing through the nose.”

Many people are born with a deviated septum. Others have experienced some sort of accident or trauma and the result is that the internal cartilage in their nose has shifted and prevents them from breathing easily.

The Ear, Nose and Throat doctors will diagnose your condition and perform a septoplasty that ultimately improves breathing. Even better for family members and sleeping partners, repairing s deviated septum typically results in less snoring. So those sleepless nights for the snorers and those who live in close proximity may quickly come to and end.

“Sleeping and exercise are dramatically improved after septoplasty,” adds Dr. Bennett.

Read: The Facts about Snoring

Reason #2:  Your Nose is Damaged in an Accident

Utah residents love to exercise. They love to get outside and push themselves to their limits. Some of us feel nearly invincible after climbing to the top of a mountain or pulling down a game-winning rebound. But gravity and blunt force trauma have a great way of bringing us back to earth and we often treat broken noses on patients who face-planted while skiing, climbing or mountain biking or took a nasty elbow to the face during a game.

Car accidents are another likely culprit in creating broken noses. The good news is that if a broken nose is treated within two weeks of the accident, the results are very positive.

Read: Repairing a Broken Nose

“After a nose is broken and displaced, we have about a two-week window in which we can return the nasal bones into their correct position with little trouble,” says Dr. Bennett. “After two weeks, the bones become fixed in the fractured position and it is much more difficult to straighten.”

Some patients consider their adjusted nose an improvement on the old one. Our advice following nose surgery is to take it easy, but some Utahns never learn. Guess that’s the curse of living in a state where going nose-to-nose with your competition and the elements is a passion.

Reason #3:  You Choose a Nose Job for Cosmetic Reasons

Your nose is one of your most prominent features. For good or bad. Some patients may have nose bumps they would like smoothed. Others may feel their nose is too big or too small. Still others may have had a rhinoplasty in the past and are unhappy with the results. Whatever your reason for seeking a nose job, the Ear, Nose and Throat Center wants to help you feel good about your nose and your appearance.

“The ideal nose should complement the face, and not detract from it,” says Dr. Bennett. “When we look at a person, we look at the eyes, the mouth, the hair. If a nose calls attention to itself, that can be a distraction. The nose can ‘make or break’ a face.”

A good nose job can help raise your self esteem. A bad nose can knock it down. We specialize in great nose jobs. Yet while a great nose job can help you feel more confident about your appearance, it can’t change deeper self-esteem issues. And we want to be sure you have realistic expectations about how a nose job will impact your life. So we will spend time with you discussing rhinoplasty options long before we ever operate.

Read: How to Prepare for Nose Surgery

“The best rhinoplasty simply removes the faults of the nose and, in the end, the nose does not look ‘operated’,” says Dr. Bennett. “I want my patients to look in the mirror after surgery and still see themselves, but with the nasal flaws removed.”

Contact the Ear, Nose and Throat Center at 801-328-2522 to learn more about nose jobs in Salt Lake City, Draper and Park City, Utah.