A deviated septum is a problem with the cartilage in the nose. The septum usually separates both sides of the nose, but when deviation is present, it causes this separation to shift to one side more so than the other side. When this happens, it can make it difficult to breathe through the nose.
A deviated septum can have many causes, including injury and structural problems that are present at birth. This is a common problem, even though many who suffer from a deviated septum are not even aware that there is an issue.
When a deviated septum is present, it can cause a blockage of the nasal passages. This blockage may make breathing through the nose difficult, but it can also lead to other problems. When there is a blockage present, it can reduce or block the drainage of the sinuses, which leads to chronic sinus infections. Young children often experience frequent nosebleeds, and may have loud breathing sounds during sleep.
The symptoms of a deviated septum can vary, with many children and adults only noticing symptoms when they are suffering from an infection of the upper respiratory tract. These infections cause the nasal tissues to swell due to inflammation, which causes the symptoms to occur. When the illness run their course, problems related to the deviated septum generally disappear as well. However, there also those who experience constant problems as a result of a severely deviated septum.
There are many different treatment options available for the treatment of a deviated septum in a child. Your child’s doctor may prescribe decongestants as a means of minimising the swelling of the nasal passages. Nasal sprays are another common treatment, but prolonged use can cause problems that can include addiction or reliance on the spray. When this happens, stopping the nasal spray can result in more severe symptoms.
It is important to understand that medications for treating a deviated septum do not correct the problem, but only alleviate the symptoms. When these treatments are stopped, the original problems will return.
The final treatment option is septoplasty, which is a form of plastic surgery that is used to reconstruct the septum so it is in a centered position.
Septoplasty is an option for adults and children who suffer from a severely deviated septum that causes problems with breathing or sleep apnoea. In these cases, incisions are made inside the nose, and the septum is adjusted so that there is an even amount of space for each nostril – clearing the nasal passages. The aim is to help improve breathing.
There are also times when septoplasty is combined with rhinoplasty, which is a type of surgery that is performed on the boney parts of the nose to address cosmetic issues or problems that affect functionality.
Septoplasty in children
Most ENT specialists try to avoid septoplasty on children that are under the age of 16. This is due to the potential for the surgery to cause problems with the growth of the nasal area – when performed before growth has been completed. However, in severe cases, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is safe for your child, yet addresses the problems caused by the deviated septum. If the deviation is causing significant breathing problems, the surgery may be performed on younger children on a case by case basis when needed.
If you have any questions about a blocked nose and treatment for deviated septum in children, contact your local doctor, who will arrange for your to see an ear nose and throat specialist.