Deviated Septum

The septum is the most commonly thought of part of the nose responsible for congestion or blocking the nose. The septum is cartilage and bone and is simply a plate or a sheet. It is supposed to be in the exact middle of your nose and separate the right side from the left. It is structural and part of the support of the bridge of your nose. If the septum becomes shifted to the right or to the left, we then call it deviated (a “deviated septum”).

An illustration of a human face, a normal nasal septum, and a deviated nasal septum

The septum starts out in life straight and in the middle. In the normal course of life, the septum can get injured and become deviated. A hit in the nose from a baseball, a fall off a bike, a punch, a kick, or an elbow to the face while playing basketball can all cause the septum to become deviated. An injury is usually the cause of deviation of the septum. The injuries may become forgotten from childhood or may not have even been severe. Rarely, the septum can become deviated during childbirth.

A deviated septum may or may not be responsible for the blocking the breathing of the nose, and it may only be partly responsible. It is up to your doctor to decide if it is blocking breathing or partly blocking your breathing or not. It can be fixed. Surgery (called a septoplasty) is the only way to fix it. Medicines cannot repair deviated cartilage or bone.