Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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|Results of rhinoplasty|
Initial treatment of deviated septum may be directed at managing the symptoms of the condition, such as nasal congestion and postnasal drip. Your doctor may prescribe:
- Decongestants. Decongestants are medications that reduce nasal congestion, helping to keep the airways on both sides of your nose open. Decongestants are available as a pill or as a nasal spray. Use nasal sprays with caution, however. Frequent use can create dependency and cause symptoms to be worse (rebound) after you stop using them. Decongestants have a stimulant effect and may cause you to be jittery as well as elevate your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Antihistamines. Antihistamines are medications that help prevent many cold and allergy symptoms, including runny nose. Some antihistamines cause drowsiness and can affect your ability to perform tasks that require physical coordination, such as driving.
- Nasal steroid sprays. Prescription nasal corticosteroid sprays can reduce inflammation in your nasal passage and help prevent a runny nose. Common side effects of nasal steroid spray include throat irritation and burning, dryness or other irritation inside your nose.
Medications are only a temporary fix, however, and won't correct a deviated septum.
Surgical repair (septoplasty)
If you experience especially bothersome symptoms — such as significant airway obstruction, chronic sinusitis or frequent nosebleeds — you may consider surgery to correct a deviated septum (septoplasty).
Septoplasty is the usual way to repair a deviated septum. During septoplasty, your nasal septum is repositioned in the center of your nose. This may require your surgeon to cut and remove parts of your septum before reinserting it in the proper position.
The level of improvement you can expect with surgery depends on the severity of your deviation. Symptoms due to the deviated septum — such as nosebleeds and nasal obstruction — often completely resolve. However, any accompanying nasal or sinus conditions — such as allergies — can't be cured with surgery.
Reshaping your nose
In some cases, surgery to reshape the nose (rhinoplasty) is performed at the same time as septoplasty. Rhinoplasty involves readjusting the bone and cartilage of your nose to change its shape or size or both.
- Fact sheet: Deviated septum. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/deviatedSeptum.cfm. Accessed April 27, 2011.
- Wang MB. Structural causes of nasal symptoms: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 27, 2011.
- Septal deviation and perforation. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec08/ch091/ch091f.html. Accessed April 27, 2011.
- Ketcham AM, et al. Complications and management of septoplasty. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2010;43:897.
- Nasal congestion and rhinorrhea. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec08/ch089/ch089c.html. Accessed April 27, 2011.
- Antihistamines, decongestants and cold remedies. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/coldRemedies.cfm. Accessed April 29, 2011.
- Corticosteroid (nasal route). Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed May 3, 2011.
- Wilson MA, et al. Extracorporeal septoplasty. Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. 2011;13:85.