Deviated septum (Septoplasty)

A deviated septum is a relatively common abnormality of the nose where the cartilage separating the nostrils is displaced, causing a blockage.

A septoplasty may be required where there is a nasal blockage due to a deviated septum. The blockage can also cause breathing difficulties, chronic sinus infections, stagnating mucus, inflammation and irritation.

A deviated septum can be congenital (inherited) or caused by external factors such as injury or haematoma.

The symptoms of a deviated septum can sometimes be controlled with medications (e.g. decongestants, antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays) but these do not address the underlying cause of the condition.

Deviated septum symptoms include:

  • difficulty in breathing
  • nosebleeds
  • facial pain
  • recurring sinus infections
  • noisy breathing or snoring during sleep

A deviated septum would be identified in the first instance by your doctor. You may be referred to a specialist for further treatment.

Your doctor may examine your nose following discussion of your symptoms. A bright light and sometimes an instrument (nasal speculum) designed to spread open your nostrils will be used to provide closer examination. A long tube-shaped scope with a bright light at the tip may also be used to check farther back in your nose.

Based on this exam, he or she can diagnose a deviated septum and determine the seriousness of your condition.


Often septoplasty is carried out in combination with rhinoplasty (nose reshaping surgery or ‘nose job’) and this surgery is then called septorhinoplasty.