I wanted to know if surgery for a deviated septum would solve my nasal and sinus passages. I have difficulty breathing due to mucus blockage. It has gotten so bad it effects the pitch/tone of my voice.
Thank you for your question.
The septum is a wall that extends from the front of the nose to the back and divides the nose into two passageways. It is never completely straight, but sometimes will be twisted from side to side so that it blocks the nasal passages. If is causing enough of a problem in breathing, your ENT doctor or sinus specialist may recommend straightening the “deviated” septum. A deviated septum may cause you to sound clogged and may predispose you to sinus infections. (sinusitis)
This is a surgical procedure, done through the inside of the nose. The surgeon will make a small incision in the lining covering the septum and lift the lining off the cartilage and bone that make up the septum. Some bone or cartilage may need to be removed, and the rest is placed back in the midline- so as to improve the airway. There is NO change in the way you look after septal surgery and you should not get black and blue- That occurs when one gets a rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery to change the appearance of the nose) at the same time.
I can’t tell for sure that the septum is your problem without an exam. There are many other causes of nasal obstruction, such as allergies, polyps or even temporarily as you know with a bad cold. Additionally, one can have the straightest septum in the world, but yet have the nose blocked from any of those problems. If you don’t have any of the other problems and septum is blocking, it is quite likely that straightening it should improve your breathing and the change in your voice that comes from not breathing well through your nose.
I hope this clears things up.
Robert Pincus MD, FACS
Co-Director NY Sinus Center
Associate Professor Otolaryngology