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Deviated septum
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 J34.2
ICD-9 470
An MRI image showing a congenitally deviated nasal septum

Nasal septum deviation is a common physical disorder of the nose, involving a displacement of the nasal septum.



It is most frequently caused by impact trauma, such as by a blow to the face.[1] It can also be a congenital disorder, caused by compression of the nose during childbirth.[1] Deviated septum is associated with Marfan syndrome.[2]


The nasal septum is the bone and cartilage in the nose that separates the nasal cavity into the two nostrils. The cartilage is called the quadrangular cartilage and the bones comprising the septum include the maxillary crest, vomer and the perpendicular plate of the ethmoid. Normally, the septum lies centrally, and thus the nasal passages are symmetrical.[3] A deviated septum is an abnormal condition in which the top of the cartilaginous ridge leans to the left or the right, causing obstruction of the affected nasal passage. The condition can result in poor drainage of the sinuses. Patients can also complain of difficulty breathing easily, headaches, bloody noses, or of sleeping disorders such as snoring or sleep apnea.[3]

It is common for nasal septa to depart from the exact centerline; the septum is only considered deviated if the shift is substantial or is adversely affecting the patient.[1] Many people with a deviation are unaware they have it until some pain is produced. But by itself a deviated septum can go undetected for years and thus be without any need for correction. [1]

Some people are concerned about diminished airflow through the effectively smaller nostril resulting from deviation. However, if the deviation merely entails a mild deflection (or bent) from the midline in one direction or the other, it should not be considered a medical issue.


In most cases a deviated septum can be corrected with a minor surgical procedure known as a septoplasty, in which the surgeon enters through the nostrils and cuts away the obtruding matter.[3] The surgery is performed quickly (it takes around 1 hour) but the patient may take anywhere from 2 days to 4 weeks to heal completely

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Metson, Ralph; Mardon, Steven, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healing Your Sinuses, McGraw-Hill Professional, pp. 159–161, ISBN 0071444696 
  2. ^ Finkbohner R, Johnston D, Crawford ES, Coselli J, Milewicz DM (February 1995). "Marfan syndrome. Long-term survival and complications after aortic aneurysm repair". Circulation 91 (3): 728–33. PMID 7828300. 
  3. ^ a b c American Academy of Otolaryngology, Fact Sheet: Deviated Septum,, retrieved 2009-02-04 

External links



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