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Deviated Septum

What is a deviated septum?

A septum is a wall that divides two cavities. In the nose, the septum is made of cartilage, and divides the nose into two separate chambers (right and left). A deviated septum is an abnormal shape of the cartilage, which may cause problems with proper breathing or nasal discharge.

What is septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a reconstructive plastic surgery performed to correct an improperly formed nasal septum that may be caused by:
  • birth defect
  • injury
  • damage from previous medical treatments
In addition to correcting a deviated nasal septum, septoplasty may also be performed to correct other problems, such as cleft abnormalities that affect the nose and nasal cavity.

About the procedure:

Septoplasty may be performed with the traditional open surgical technique from inside the nose. When open surgery is performed, small scars will be located on the base of the nose, but they usually are not noticeable. Scarring is not visible when internal surgery is performed. Depending on the severity of the deviation, septoplasty may be performed in the following settings:
  • a surgeon's office
  • an outpatient surgery center
  • a hospital as an outpatient
  • a hospital as an inpatient
The surgeon will provide guidelines for resuming normal activities. Many children are up and around within a few days and able to return to school in a week or so.

What are the complications associated with nasal surgery?

Children vary greatly in their anatomy and healing ability, and the outcome is never completely predictable. Complications may occur, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • infection
  • nosebleed
  • reaction to the anesthesia
The following short-term side effects may occur. If symptoms do not subside, consult your child's physician.
  • face will feel puffy
  • nose may ache
  • dull headache
  • swelling around the eyes
  • bruising around the eyes
  • small amount of bleeding in first few days
  • small burst blood vessels may appear as tiny red spots on the skin's surface
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Deviated Septum - Departments & Programs - Children's National Medical Center