Be in the ‘know’ about how to fix your congestion, snoring problem, or that annoying bump! Do you have difficulty breathing through your nose? Has your nose been broken in the past? Do you snore? Do you get recurrent nosebleeds? Does your nose look crooked? Is there something about the way your nose looks that you don’t like? These may not be problems you are forced to “live with.” They may be the result of an anatomic asymmetry, previous trauma or genetics.
Most people have heard the term “deviated septum.” The nasal septum is a cartilage and bone partition that divides the nose into two passages for air flow. During early development and growth or with trauma to the nose, the nasal septum can shift out of position and cause narrowing or obstruction of one or both sides of the nose. This narrowing can lead to chronic congestion, nose bleeds, sinus problems and sometimes a crooked nose.
The external nose (portion of the nose that is seen from the outside) also consists of bone and cartilage. These components interact and connect to each other in very specific ways to maintain nasal support and airway. Trauma or damage to these interacting structures can cause external asymmetries, collapse of certain critical portions of the nasal airway and consequent breathing problems.
Patients often visit my office and express dissatisfaction with the appearance of a certain aspect of their nose. Some might have a bump that creates an unattractive profile. Others feel that their nose is simply too big for their face or doesn’t complement the rest of their face. Still others are concerned that their nose shifts to one side or the other.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Diagnosis of a nasal problem starts with a visit to a physician who specializes in treating nasal problems. After a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and an examination of your nose internally and externally, a treatment recommendation can be made. Some problems are best treated with nasal sprays or medications. For others, a surgical procedure may be recommended. Purely internal breathing problems may be correctable with a septoplasty. Purely cosmetic problems require rhinoplasty. Septorhinoplasty is performed when both breathing and aesthetics are to be addressed.
If your problem is purely functional in nature (affecting breathing and appropriate function), insurance authorization and coverage is generally able to be obtained. If problems exist that are primarily cosmetic in nature, correction will not be covered by insurance. Many problems have both functional and cosmetic components.