Patients diagnosed with a deviated septum may not understand what this diagnosis entails and how a deviated septum may impact their lives. Whether a deviated septum can impact the sinuses is just one of the potential questions patients may have.
Here’s a look at how a deviated septum affects the function of other parts of the nose. We'll also discuss when and how we can fix a deviated septum.
Understanding Your Deviated Septum
A deviated septum occurs when the midline in your nasal cavity is crooked. This can be due to a dislocation, deformity, or a crush injury. Regardless of the cause, this deviation can affect several factors of your life. These include: your breathing, the nasal cavity membrane function, and your susceptibility to sinus infection.
A deviated septum can cause spurs of bone to block portions of an airway. When this happens, your nose will attempt to balance airflow between its two cavities.
In trying to maintain balance, your nose actually creates resistance in the healthy pathway. This only serves to compound the issue, making it harder to breathe.
How a Deviated Septum Affects Membrane Function
Without clear air movement, irritants you breathe in can damage the membrane. This can cause the nose to develop callus-like swelling. The mucus transport becomes dysfunctional, the nose can’t clear the irritants, and the membrane swells. This causes pain and inflammation.
If the sinuses can’t clear themselves, a backlog of fluid can be created. Sinuses become involved with the membrane disease and painful pressure can occur within them.
Furthermore, a spur or deflection that presses into one of the drainage funnels may cause a mechanical dysfunction. If the sinuses can’t clear mucus due to the obstruction, the environment in them changes, and makes them dysfunctional.
All told, the sinuses become a corked bottle and get increasingly worse over time. Eventually, you develop sinusitis, leading to facial pressure, headaches, and possibly a fever.
Fixing a Deviated Septum
There’s no one simple fix for a deviated septum. Treatment will always depend on the patient’s unique physiological structure. It can vary according to the shape, variety, and location of the septum deviation.
The good news is that the vast majority of deviated septum cases can be fixed. The goal of any treatment is to set the septum back down the middle. That can be done through cartilage manipulation or even by manipulating bony components. However, it’s important to go beyond the deviated septum and take into account the tissue and membrane within the nose.
One factor that influences your recovery is the severity and source of the problem. Full restoration usually takes between three weeks and three months. This can involve nasal maintenance options in the long-term. Your doctor may recommend using sinus rinses and nasal sprays, as examples