Deviated septum (Septorhinoplasty)

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

Nose reshaping may be recommended at the same time for medical reasons (if your nose is blocked, for example, or after an injury to your nose) or requested for cosmetic reasons.

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.

Nasal reconstruction surgery (rhinoplasty) may be requested at the same time for a number of reasons:

  • reshaping the tip of the nose
  • altering the length of the nose
  • correcting a hump at the bridge of the nose
  • changing the width of the nose
  • changing width of the nostrils

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

Deviated septum symptoms include difficulty in breathing, nosebleeds, facial pain, recurring sinus infections, and noisy breathing or snoring during sleep. If you’re also not happy with the size or shape of your nose, a septorhinoplasty may help to change its appearance to your satisfaction.

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.

  • 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.

Examinations will include using a bright light and sometimes an instrument (nasal speculum) designed to spread open your nostrils to provide a closer look. A long tube-shaped scope with a bright light at the tip may also be used to check farther back in your nose.

MRI scan

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a special technique that uses powerful magnets, radio waves and computers to produce detailed images (or scans) of the inside of your body.


Septorhinoplasty is nose reconstruction surgery that aims to treat blocked nasal passages and improve the cosmetic appearance of a patient’s nose at the same time.

What next?

If you are suffering with a suspected condition, you should seek the advice of your doctor who will be able to refer you to Benenden Hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

There are four ways to access treatment at Benenden Hospital which include self-funding, using private medical insurance or your Benenden membership, or through the NHS e-Referral scheme.