Can using Flonase for a month cure my deviated septum?
Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, there is no medication that we know of that can “cure” a deviated septum.
The nasal septum is a wall that separates the nasal passages into 2 chambers. The septum is never completely straight, but if it is twisted enough it can block the airflow through the nose by going from side to side as we go back through the airway. The nasal septum is cartilage up front and bone as we go further back in the nasal airway.
Flonase (fluticasone) is one of many available nasal steroids. These medications present a small amount of steroids in a spray form the lining of the nose. Unlike some other over the counter medications like Afrin (oxymetazoline), they take a few days to work and do not get the user “hooked” by creating a rebound worsening after use. Nasal steroid sprays bring down swelling locally, but will not change the underlying structure.
We do often try Flonase and other nasal steroids in patients with a deviated septum. Often, the twisted septum will cause irritation to the nasal lining and therefore some swelling in the lining, further blocking the breathing passages. The sprays may be successful in bringing down the swelling enough to improve the airway- without actually affecting the structure of the septum.
Straightening the septum should only be done if it is causing problems, such as nasal obstruction, recurrent sinus infections or nose bleeds. The surgery is generally quite successful.
Straightening the nasal septum (septoplasty) is a surgical procedure- done in the operating room as an outpatient. It is done totally inside the nose- and does NOT change the appearance of the nose. We at the NY Sinus Center do not use any packing (gauze in the nose) after sinus center. Many use the complaints of their deviated septum to also have rhinoplasty done- that does change the appearance and is a cosmetic surgery- while rhinoplasty is generally not necessary for straightening the septum-straightening the septum is often necessary to get the best result if we do rhinoplastic surgery.
I hope this clears things up.
Robert Pincus MD
C0-Director NY Sinus Center
Associate Professor NYMC