Deviated Septum Surgery

About Deviated Septum Surgery

Deviated septum surgery is the recommended answer for people who suffer from disorders related to snoring and sleep apnea when the cause seems to a severally misplaced nasal wall.  Technically, a “septum” is any wall separating two areas, but when medical people refer to a deviated septum, they mean a nasal septum.  The nasal septum is the wall of tissue that separates your left and right nostril.  In one of five people, this wall is exactly centered, though the rest of us have an off-center septum that thus gives one nostril greater space.  For most people this is not a problem.  However, as we get older or due to injury, the septum can “deviate” so far from center that it starts to constrict our air passage in one nostril.  This pinching can result in snoring or in the condition known as “sleep apnea,” a blockage to normal breathing during sleep that can lead to sufferers not getting adequate rest and some times literally not taking in enough oxygen.  A deviated septum may also result in severe snoring.

When these conditions are severe, a deviated septum surgery may be the best solution.


Your physician will recommend a deviated septum surgery, or septoplasty, when problems related to sleep apnea do not resolve through other non-surgical means or as a part of another related surgery, such as those performed because of sinusitis.   The operation typically takes under two hours and requires at least a local anesthetic, though most patients when given the option prefer a general anesthetic.

The surgery usually begin with the ears, nose and throat surgeon performing a reconnaissance with an endoscope, a device with a tiny camera that is inserted into the nasal passage in order to determine the dimensions and positioning of the deviated septum.  In most septoplasties the surgeon will first separate the outer layer of soft tissue known as the nasal mucosa (you will no doubt recognize the name mucous in the name “mucosa”).  This mucosal layer is like a wrapping for the bone cartilage of the nasal septum.  Once unwrapped of the mucosa, the surgeon will realign the septum so that the nasal passages have a more even breathing space.  Usually some of the septum’s cartilage will be removed as well so that it has less chance for creating a blockage should it return to its deviated position.

The surgeon then reattaches the mucosal glove to the septum.  Most patients undergoing deviated septum surgery go home after the surgery with a few extra painkillers to help ease the recovery.  In a subsequent visit, the surgeon will check to see if the surgery was a success.  Most cases of severe snoring and sleep apnea resolve post surgery.

Reasons Why People Seek Deviated Septum Surgery

As we mentioned before, the number one reason that people seek to have a septoplasty is because of sleep apnea or severe noisy sleep.  Sleep apnea is more than an irritant that leads to poor rest; it can actually be life threatening for some individuals as the breathing is interrupted for so long that the person chokes.  Over time sleep apnea can become quite severe due the process of aging and other health issues.  Thus, a septoplasty can be a life saving surgery.

In addition, when severe load snoring becomes a marital issue (often leading to couples sleeping in separate wings of the home), septoplasty can save marriages.

These are not the only reasons that people seek this surgery, however.  A deviated septum is also one of the risk factors for those who suffer from frequent nosebleeds, those that have postnasal drip at the back of their throats and some forms of painful sinus problems.  In all these cases, a deviated septum surgery can be a true Godsend.