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Could I have a deviated septum? (Photo)

I have broken my nose twice and have noticed over the past few years that one of my nostrils is larger and looks higher up than the other. I didn't use to notice this, which makes me wonder if I have a deviated septum. I also have a lot of sleeping problems, like sleep apnea, which I have read can be a symptom of a deviated septum. Does this picture look to be a deviated septum?

Doctor Answers (8)

Deviated septum is possible and causes airway problems,but not sleep apnea.

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Deviated septum is possible and causes airway problems,but not sleep apnea. I would need to examine your nose to say if surgery would be of benefit or not.


Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

I bet that you have a deviated septum and you need a nasal septoplasty and perhaps rhinoplasty

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You broke your nose twice and now your nostrils are asymmetrical, plus one can see the crookedness to your nose. Having sleeping problems like sleep apnea certainly can be one symptom of a deviated septum. My sense is that, that's exactly what you have and is contributing either to the internal nasal blockage causing the sleeping and breathing problems as well as the asymmetrical unsatisfactory external appearance.

You need to have a consultation with a very experienced nasal surgeon who spends most of his time doing nose surgery. These are not easy cases.They require both cosmetic and reconstructive techniques and approaches, but it looks to me like the skin is good, along with other factors that are favorable, so if you are unhappy -- and you have many reasons to be unhappy -- check into it having a surgical consultation.

Do your cosmetic surgery homework. Visit a lot of good rhinoplasty websites. Also, read consumer books about cosmetic plastic surgery. Most were written for people just like you so that you can learn, study and prepare.

Ask for computer imaging when you go for your consultation. You want to be able to see the predicted results of your procedure. A consultation without that, to me, is worthless. You need to see on the surgeon's screen what changes can or should be made to make sure you are happy. If the surgeon says he is uncomfortable delivering the changes on the screen that you prefer, then move on to the next office. Ask to see computer imaging examples for other patients in which you can see the before pictures, then the computer-image results and then actual after-surgery healed result.This is very important.You also want to see a before and after rhinoplasty picture collection with at least 100 cases of examples of what nasal surgery changes were made.

The more specialized the surgeon you see, the more likely you are to have a satisfactory result, so spend your time wisely. Invest your time properly by learn as much as you can.

You can be helped.There is no question about that.

Best wishes from Beverly Hills.

Robert Kotler, MD, FACS

Robert Kotler, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

You may have a deviated septum

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Whether or not you have a deviated septum is determined by an internal nasal exam (looking inside the nose). Based on your history of trauma it is very possible that you do have a deviated septum. It would be important to know if you have trouble breathing, or find yourself breathing through your mouth. A deviated septum can cause the appearance of the nose to change, and can also cause nostril asymmetry. The way the light shines on your nose does suggest a deviated septum, but again one would need to look inside from below to really tell.

Anita Patel, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

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Crooked nose = deviated septum?

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Your septum is inside the nose, but your history of nasal fracture and externally-visible crooked nose makes the likelihood greater that you have at least some septal deviation.

The concern, of course, is that you have both cosmetic and functional components of your nasal anatomy that now need to be addressed surgically. Insurance coverage may be possible for part or all of your anticipated nasal surgery, but most insurance companies now separate the functional and elective cosmetic components and pay only for the reconstructive part related to function. It will be up to your chosen surgeon to prior authorize with your insurance carrier and figure out who pays for just what. But of course, all aspects can be taken care of with one operation. Revisions or touch-up surgery is always possible, even with excellent surgeons and compliant patients.

Surgically, an assessment is made at the time of physical examination, including your internal nasal anatomy, and any effects internal septal or other cartilagenous and bony injuries may have on your nasal function and appearance. Then your surgeon and you agree to a plan of action and desired changes. An excellent rhinoplasty surgeon can usually achieve correction of the functional problem as well as improve the appearance of your nose. Be sure to see ABPS-certified plastic surgeons experienced in rhinoplasty surgery. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Deviated septum

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Based on your photograph and your symptoms, it is likely that you do have a deviated septum. Your photograph demonstrates a light reflection on the right side of the dorsum as opposed to the midline and twisting of the nasal tip with elevation of the right nostril. It is not uncommon to have a degree of septal deviation. A thorough examination by and experienced and skilled surgeon will likely indicate that septoplasty may be needed. You may have other issues such as inferior turbinate hypertrophy that may need to be addressed at the time of surgery in order to improve your nasal airway. These procedures may be combined with cosmetic rhinoplasty.
Dr. Phillip Dahan

Phillip Dahan, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Deviated septum and broken nose

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To  a make a diagnosis of a deviated septum, you must have an ENT/ facial plastic surgeon examine  the internal portion of the nose. A deviated septum consists of  twisted or fractured bone and cartilage in the back of the nose  which is  creating decreased airflow issues. A septoplasty is performed for medical necessity to improve airflow dynamics through the nose. It will not change the shape of the nose. There are other issues that can cause nasal obstruction such as allergies, turbinate hypertrophy, valve collapse,  vestibular stenosis and a nasal fracture. All of these are treated differently.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Deviated septum?

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Most people have some asymmetry of the nose and often a deviation of the septum. Some are less than others. Best to be seen in person. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Possible Deviated Septum

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You may have a deviated septum, but this is difficult to determine based on one picture that you submitted. A view of the base of your nose may be helpful but it will be necessary to have an examination of the inside of your nostrils to evaluate your airway and sleeping problems.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.