Snoring, frequent nosebleeds, facial pain — a deviated (crooked) septum can have a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms that interfere with quality of life. As the symptoms build to more serious complications like chronic sinus infections and prolonged sleep issues, they compound co-existing medical conditions. Some people struggle with a deviated septum from birth, while others develop the condition after an injury or accident. A septoplasty can relieve the symptoms of a deviated septum, but that means you need the best deviated septum surgeon in NYC — Dr. Tal Dagan.
Septoplasty should be performed by a board-certified otolaryngologist who has comprehensive knowledge of facial anatomy and structure. As one of the premier doctors performing septoplasty in NYC, Dr. Dagan and his team have years of experience using the latest technology and techniques. Their expertise and personalized care guide patients through their procedure and into a life where they can breathe easier.
What is a Septoplasty?
Septoplasty, also known as deviated septum surgery, is a procedure to correct the positioning of the septum. The septum, made of cartilage and bone, separates the interior of the nose into two separate spaces. Optimally, the septal wall should be straight so that air freely flows. That’s not only essential for proper respiration but also to maintain a healthy sense of smell and taste.
Any genetic condition or injury that affects the normal position of the septum can affect breathing in a way that interferes with daily life. Some people are born with a deviated septum, but genetics aren’t the only cause of a deviated septum.
Injury to the nose and facial structure can also change the position of the septum. However, changes in the septum may not be immediately evident. Symptoms may increase over time. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and how they may be affecting daily functioning.
Deviated Septum Symptoms
Deviated septum symptoms may increase or decrease at times, but there are generally always some underlying breathing problems. Common symptoms include:
- Obstruction of the nostril(s): A deviated septum causes one nostril to be narrower than the other, making it difficult to breathe on the obstructed side. Anything that increases the nasal blockage or obstruction in addition to a deviated septum magnifies the inability to breathe fully.
- Frequent nosebleeds: The positioning of a deviated septum makes the nose more susceptible to drying out. That, in turn, leads to frequent nosebleeds.
- Nasal and/or facial pain: Septum-related pain usually occurs on one side of the face over the other. It’s typically caused by the septum touching other surfaces of the nose, creating painful pressure.
- Loud breathing/snoring: Air flowing through narrowed nasal passages often causes loud breathing and excessive snoring. The snoring may be loud enough to disrupt the sleep of a partner. Any intranasal swelling due to the deviated septum further compounds the noise of breathing and snoring.
- Having a preferred side for sleeping: Many people who have a deviated septum preferred to sleep on the side that allows them to breathe the easiest. Even if they don’t have a cold or allergies, they may breathe easier on their preferred side because it leaves the larger of their nasal passages open.
- Noticing the nasal cycle: Everyone goes through the nasal cycle, wherein one nostril becomes obstructed then clears, followed by the other nostril becoming obstructed. The vast majority of people aren’t even aware of the cycle. However, those with a deviated septum experience intensified effects of these changes due to the narrowed nasal passage.
The impact of deviated septum symptoms may vary over time. For example, during allergy season, when the nasal passages become swollen and irritated, a deviated septum may increase associated breathing difficulties.
Cold and flu season can be particularly difficult, too. A mild cold may develop into a sinus infection because the mucous cannot drain properly. Postnasal drip turns into chronic sinus infections that may come with swelling in the nose, eyes, cheeks, and forehead. If the issue isn’t resolved, the drainage problems can extend well beyond allergy or cold/flu season.
Deviated Septum Causes
A deviated septum has two main causes, and both are fairly common:
- Birth defect: There are many genetic aberrations that are common during normal fetal development, and a deviated septum is one of them. The septum may also be damaged during childbirth, causing deviation. Some people don’t experience any negative side effects of their deviated septum, or their symptoms are not problematic. However, for others, the symptoms continue to increase in severity with time. That’s when many seek out deviated septum surgery in NYC.
- Nose or facial injury: A deviated septum can easily be caused by an injury or accident. Childhood tumbles and falls, participating in contact sports, and general rough play and activities are common culprits with bike and car accidents being a common cause as well.
For patients who live in NYC, septoplasty comes with access to the latest technology and modern techniques. But it also includes long-term benefits to health and quality of life, especially for those who’ve been struggling with septum issues for an extended period of time. The benefits of septoplasty include:
- Improved breathing: A septoplasty removes any obstructions, creating even airflow on both sides of the nose. Improved airflow assures appropriate oxygen levels, whether at night or during the day. Some people may become self-conscious about the loudness of their breathing. In these cases, a septoplasty comes with a boost of confidence, too.
- Improved sleep quality: Breathing problems can’t help but interfere with the sleep cycle. A deviated septum can cause or contribute to sleep apnea, which is a condition in which breathing periodically stops during sleep. The consequent periodic drop in oxygen levels has been linked to hypertension, heart disease, and a depressed immune system. Septoplasty can drastically improve sleep quality and duration by allowing patients to breathe deeply and maintain a regular sleep cycle. In cases where snoring is an issue, the correction of the septum can also improve the sleep quality of the patient’s partner.
- Improved sinus health: Sinus congestion is one of the most common and persistent problems associated with a deviated septum. A narrowed nasal passage creates the perfect environment for mucous to build in the sinuses and become infected. A deviated septum may prevent normal drainage, turning sinus infections into a chronic condition. After septoplasty, the larger nasal passage allows for better drainage and, consequently, fewer sinus infections.
- Improved sense of taste and smell: Restricted airflow doesn’t allow enough air to the olfactory area of the nose, which affects the ability to taste and smell. Sweet and salty tastes are usually the first to disappear, and often the first to return after corrective surgery.
The NYC Septoplasty Procedure
A septoplasty is an outpatient surgery that can be performed at an affiliated hospital or ambulatory surgical center. A local or general anesthesia provides patients with safety and comfort for the duration of the surgery. Septoplasty usually lasts between 1.5 to 2 hours. However, in the case of a balloon septoplasty, the procedure time may be as short as 30 minutes. The length of the procedure depends on the severity of the condition and any other issues or conditions addressed during the procedure.
There are several types of septoplasty. Each patient consults with Dr. Dagan to determine the right procedure for them. For some, the best option will be an open septoplasty, in which the incision starts at the base of the nose. For others, a closed septoplasty, wherein an incision is made on the inside of the nose, may be a better option.
In both an open and closed septoplasty, the cartilage and/or bone involved with the deviation is either removed, trimmed, or reshaped to regulate airflow. At the end of the procedure, sutures are used to close the incision, and splints or soft packing are placed in the nose to provide stability during the healing process.
A third and less invasive option is the balloon septoplasty. This procedure is used in mild cases for patients whose sinus issues may not have responded to medication and other interventions. In this procedure, a topical anesthetic numbs the nose and a catheter that can be blown up like a balloon is inserted into the nose and inflated to move the septum. Balloon septoplasties can be performed in-office but are not effective for all patients.
Some patients opt to do a septoplasty in conjunction with other procedures like a rhinoplasty, a procedure that alters the shape and, sometimes, the position of the nose. This is particularly common if the deviated septum was caused by an injury or if the person has been contemplating rhinoplasty anyway. The two procedures go hand-in-hand and can be a minimally invasive way to improve breathing and appearance.
Typically, septoplasty is an outpatient procedure, which means patients can return home on the same day of their surgery. Balloon septoplasty only takes 20 to 30 minutes, in which case patients may leave the office shortly after the procedure. If the procedure requires packing, which most do, the packing can usually be removed within 24 hours, while any sutures dissolve on their own. If splints are used, they usually need to stay in place for a few weeks or until the doctor feels the nose is stable enough for their removal.
Patients should expect swelling and some drainage post-procedure. Sleeping at an incline with the head in an elevated position can help reduce swelling, blockage, and associated pain. Pain relievers may be prescribed, but certain over-the-counter pain relievers should be avoided because they may increase bleeding.
To protect the incision and healing septum, patients should avoid strenuous activities and nose blowing for 10 to 14 days. High-intensity exercise increases blood pressure and blood flow and may contribute to excessive bleeding.
As the swelling and drainage subside, patients will begin to notice positive changes in their breathing, sleep, smell, and taste.
Every medical procedure comes with some inherent risk, and septoplasty is no different. Some side effects and risks include:
- Discoloration of the nose
- Bleeding after the procedure
- Scarring around the incision
- Septum perforation, in which a hole develops in the septum
- A change in the nose shape
- An altered sense of smell
In some cases, the patient must undergo a second septoplasty if there are complications or issues with the shape of the septum. Patients should also be aware that infection and excessive bleeding are possible after any kind of surgery. However, if patients take precautions to keep the incision site clean and frequently wash their hands, the chances of infection remain low.
Is a Septoplasty in NYC Right For Me?
If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, experience chronic sinus infections, or have difficulty sleeping, you’re a good candidate for septoplasty. When your ability to breathe interferes with the quality of your life, that’s when it’s time to seek out a deviated septum surgeon in NYC like Dr. Dagan.
The Best Deviated Septum Surgeon in NYC
Dr. Dagan is a board-certified otolaryngologist with years of experience doing corrective and reproductive procedures. Though he performs hundreds of surgeries each year, every patient gets personal attention. He’s supported by a staff that’s trained in the latest technologies and procedures. Each patient that walks into their office in downtown Manhattan gets a personalized treatment plan.
Call 212.585.3242 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tal Dagan, the best deviated septum surgeon in NYC.