An abnormality of the partition that separates the nostrils
- Often present at birth
- More common in males
- Playing contact sports, such as football, is a risk factor
- Genetics not a significant factor
Sometimes, the wall of cartilage and bone that divides the nostrils, called the nasal septum, is slightly misshapen or deviated but causes no problems. However, in some people, the nasal septum is very misshapen and blocks one side of the nose, impairing breathing. The defect is sometimes associated with snoring.
A mildly deviated nasal septum is often present from birth. In other cases, the condition results from a blow to the nose, usually due to a fall or an athletic injury. A deviated septum occurs more commonly in men because men are more likely to participate in contact sports that may lead to this type of injury. A severely deviated nasal septum may increase the risk of infections in the sinuses (see Sinusitis).
If you have a deviated septum that causes recurrent sinusitis or breathing difficulties, your doctor may recommend surgery. Carried out under local or general anaesthesia, the operation involves straightening the septum by realigning or removing the deviated area of cartilage and bone.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.