Can Plastic Surgery Fix A Deviated Septum?

Have you ever wondered if plastic surgery can fix a deviated septum? Well, good news! This article aims to explore the possibility of correcting this common nasal condition through surgical intervention. If you have been struggling with the discomfort and difficulty in breathing caused by a deviated septum, read on to discover how plastic surgery might be the solution you’ve been searching for.

What is a deviated septum?

A deviated septum is a condition where the thin wall of cartilage between your nostrils, called the nasal septum, is displaced to one side. In a normal functioning nose, the septum is positioned centrally, dividing the nasal passage into two equal parts. However, a deviated septum can cause one side of the nose to be significantly smaller than the other, leading to breathing difficulties and other symptoms.


A deviated septum occurs when the cartilage and bone that make up the nasal septum are crooked or off-center. This can be a result of factors such as genetics, trauma to the nose, or structural issues present at birth.


The most common cause of a deviated septum is trauma or injury to the nose, such as from a fall or sports-related accident. Other causes may include genetic factors, where the septum develops abnormally during fetal development, or certain medical conditions that affect the structure of the nose. It’s important to note that not everyone with a deviated septum experiences symptoms, as the severity can vary widely.


Symptoms of a deviated septum can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Nasal congestion: Difficulty breathing through one or both nostrils due to the blockage caused by the deviated septum.
  • Frequent sinus infections: The airflow imbalance can lead to the accumulation of mucus, making the individual more prone to sinus infections.
  • Facial pain: In some cases, the deviated septum can cause facial pain or pressure.
  • Nosebleeds: The irregular airflow can cause the drying out of the nasal passages, making them more prone to bleeding.
  • Snoring or sleep apnea: A deviated septum can contribute to snoring or sleep-related breathing disorders.
  • Reduced sense of smell: The obstruction caused by the deviated septum can affect the ability to fully smell.

How is a deviated septum diagnosed?

If you suspect you have a deviated septum, it is important to have a proper diagnosis from a medical professional. There are several methods used to diagnose a deviated septum.

Physical examination

During a physical examination, your doctor will use a nasal speculum to visualize the inside of your nose. They may also use a bright light and a nasal speculum to determine the extent and location of the deviation.

Nasal endoscopy

In some cases, your doctor may use a nasal endoscope to get a more detailed view inside your nose. This is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end, which allows your doctor to see the internal structures of your nose more clearly.

Imaging tests

In certain situations, imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans may be ordered to provide a more detailed image of the nasal passages. These tests can help identify the severity and location of the deviation, and assist the surgeon in planning the surgical procedure if needed.

Non-surgical treatments for a deviated septum

While surgery is often the most effective treatment for a deviated septum, non-surgical options may be explored initially, especially for individuals with mild symptoms.

Nasal decongestants

Nasal decongestants, available as over-the-counter or prescription medications, can provide temporary relief by shrinking the swollen tissues in the nose. However, they should be used sparingly and for short periods of time, as prolonged use can lead to a rebound effect and worsen congestion.

Nasal steroid sprays

Nasal steroid sprays are another common non-surgical treatment option. These sprays help reduce inflammation in the nasal passages, allowing for improved airflow. They are typically used on a daily basis and may take several weeks to show noticeable improvement.


Septoplasty is a surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum. During this procedure, the surgeon will straighten and reposition the septum to restore proper alignment. Septoplasty can be performed under general or local anesthesia, and the recovery period typically lasts around one to two weeks.

Understanding plastic surgery for a deviated septum

Plastic surgery, specifically rhinoplasty and septoplasty, can be performed to address a deviated septum. These procedures aim to improve both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the nose.

Rhinoplasty versus septoplasty

While both rhinoplasty and septoplasty can address a deviated septum, they serve different purposes. Rhinoplasty primarily focuses on enhancing the appearance of the nose, while septoplasty focuses on correcting the structural issues of the septum to improve breathing function. In some cases, a combination of both procedures may be necessary, depending on the individual’s goals and the severity of the deviation.

Benefits of plastic surgery

Plastic surgery for a deviated septum can provide several benefits. Firstly, it can alleviate breathing difficulties and improve overall nasal function. This can lead to better airflow, reduced nasal congestion, and improved quality of life. Secondly, plastic surgery can also have cosmetic benefits by enhancing the appearance of the nose, improving its symmetry, and creating a more proportionate facial profile.

Who is a candidate for plastic surgery?

Not everyone with a deviated septum requires or is suitable for plastic surgery. The decision to undergo surgery should be made in consultation with a qualified surgeon, taking into consideration the severity of the deviation and its impact on daily life.

Severity of the deviated septum

Individuals with severe deviations that significantly impact breathing and overall nasal function may be most suitable for plastic surgery. Mild to moderate deviations that do not cause significant symptoms may not require surgical intervention.

The impact on daily life

If the deviated septum causes chronic symptoms such as frequent sinus infections, facial pain, or sleep disturbances, it may be worth considering plastic surgery as a long-term solution. However, each case is unique, and a comprehensive evaluation by a specialist will help determine the best course of action.

Risks and complications of plastic surgery

As with any surgical procedure, plastic surgery for a deviated septum carries certain risks and possible complications that should be considered before making a decision.

General surgical risks

There are general risks associated with any surgical procedure, including adverse reactions to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, and blood clots. These risks can vary depending on the individual’s overall health and medical history.

Specific risks of septoplasty

Septoplasty, the specific surgery to correct a deviated septum, carries its own set of potential risks. These may include nasal bleeding, infection, persistent nasal obstruction, septal perforation (a hole in the septum), changes in nasal shape, or a need for revision surgery.

Potential aesthetic changes

In some cases, plastic surgery for a deviated septum may result in changes to the appearance of the nose. This is more likely to occur with rhinoplasty, which focuses on the cosmetic aspects of the nose. It is important to discuss your expectations and concerns with your surgeon before proceeding with surgery.

The plastic surgery procedure

If you decide to proceed with plastic surgery to correct a deviated septum, it is essential to understand the steps involved in the procedure.


Before undergoing surgery, you will have a consultation with your surgeon to discuss your goals, evaluate your medical history, and determine if you are a suitable candidate. You may also be advised to avoid certain medications or substances that could increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure.


Plastic surgery for a deviated septum can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. Your surgeon will determine the most appropriate option based on factors such as the extent of the surgery and your overall health.

Surgical techniques

During the surgery, your surgeon will make incisions within the nose to access the deviated septum. They will carefully straighten and reposition the septum, ensuring it is aligned correctly. Depending on the individual case, additional procedures such as cartilage grafting or bone reshaping may be performed to further improve nasal function and appearance.


After the surgery, you can expect to experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Your surgeon may place nasal packing or splints inside your nose to support the healing process and keep the tissues in place. It is important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, including keeping the nose clean, avoiding strenuous activities, and attending follow-up appointments for monitoring and removal of any packing or splints.

Recovering from plastic surgery

The recovery period following plastic surgery for a deviated septum is crucial for optimal healing and overall success of the procedure.

Pain management

Your surgeon will prescribe appropriate pain medications to manage any discomfort during the initial recovery period. It is important to take these medications as directed and notify your surgeon if you experience severe or persistent pain.

Nasal packing and splints

Nasal packing and splints are commonly used to support the healing process and maintain the correct positioning of the septum following surgery. These may cause some discomfort or difficulty breathing through the nose, but they are typically removed by your surgeon within a week after the procedure.

Activity restrictions

During the recovery period, it is important to follow your surgeon’s recommendations regarding physical activity restrictions. Strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or intense exercise, should be avoided for a certain period of time to allow for proper healing. Taking time off work or school may also be necessary, depending on the extent of the surgery and individual recovery progress.

Results and expectations

Following plastic surgery for a deviated septum, individuals can expect both functional and aesthetic improvements.

Improvement in breathing

The primary goal of plastic surgery for a deviated septum is to improve nasal airflow and breathing function. Patients often experience a significant reduction in nasal congestion, increased airflow, and improved overall nasal function. This can result in better quality of sleep, decreased snoring, and decreased susceptibility to sinus infections.

Cosmetic changes

Depending on the specific procedure performed, plastic surgery for a deviated septum can also result in cosmetic improvements. The shape and symmetry of the nose may be enhanced, leading to a more balanced and proportionate facial appearance. It is important to discuss your desired cosmetic changes with your surgeon to ensure realistic expectations.

Long-term outcomes

With proper care and adherence to your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, the results of plastic surgery for a deviated septum can be long-lasting. While some swelling and minor changes in appearance may persist for several weeks or months, the improved nasal function and aesthetics should remain stable over time.

Alternatives to plastic surgery

For individuals who are not suitable candidates for plastic surgery or prefer non-invasive options, there are alternatives that can provide some relief for a deviated septum.

Nasal dilators

Nasal dilators are small devices that can be inserted into the nostrils to help keep the nasal passages open. They work by gently widening the nostrils and improving airflow. While they do not correct the structural issues of a deviated septum, they can provide temporary relief for some individuals.

Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises, such as pranayama or nasal irrigation techniques, may help improve nasal function and alleviate symptoms associated with a deviated septum. These exercises focus on deep breathing and nasal cleansing, which can help clear blocked nasal passages and improve airflow.


Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and balance. Some individuals have reported improvement in their nasal congestion and breathing difficulties following acupuncture sessions. However, scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for a deviated septum is limited, and it may not be suitable for everyone.

In conclusion, plastic surgery can be an effective solution for individuals with a deviated septum, offering both functional and aesthetic improvements. It is important to consult with a qualified surgeon to determine the most appropriate treatment option based on the severity of the deviation and its impact on daily life. Whether opting for plastic surgery or exploring non-surgical alternatives, addressing a deviated septum can significantly enhance overall nasal function and improve quality of life.