Not Sure if I Have a Deviated Septum or Need a Rhinoplasty? (photo)

I broke my nose about 6 years ago back in high school and have lived with it to this point. As you can tell it's a little crooked. I honestly can live with that but the real thing that bothers me is my nasal breathing. Ever since the break I get sinus infections at least once a year. I have terrible allergies too so anytime I'm congested I cannot breathe out of my nose. Would a septoplasty fix my breathing and also would that do anything to slighty straighten it? Not looking for a whole nose job.

Doctor Answers 4

Deviated septum or need rhinoplasty

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The septum is the dividing line between the left lane and the right lane of the airflow and can become crooked from a variety of reasons, including trauma.  Repairing a deviated septum does not change the external appearance of the nose; it only improves the breathing and is typically billed to the patient’s medical insurance.  A rhinoplasty involves straightening the outside of the nose and making other cosmetic changes, such as a hump removal, tip refinement, and straightening the external portion of the nose.  Sinus infections are initially treated medically with antibiotics and if sinus infections repeatedly occur, then endoscopic sinus surgery is needed remove any polyps present inside the sinuses.  Allergies can compound nasal obstruction and are treated medically with antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants. It is important to make sure allergies are under control prior to pursuing a septoplasty for breathing issues.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Deviated septum

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Very sorry to hear about your injury. Fortunately, there are remedies for the issues you describe. I do see that your nose appears crooked in the photo you provided. A deviated septum can also lead to a deviated nose. It is difficult to predict how much of your crooked nose is due to a deviated septum, so correcting the deviated septum alone will not necessarily correct a crooked nose. In general, correcting a crooked nose is a very difficult procedure and requires a specialist that has a great deal of experience. Osteotomies (fracturing of the nasal bones) would be necessary. It is not possible to get the nose 100% straight, but great improvements can be made. To answer your question about breathing, a septoplasty would really help. In fact, you will feel like a new person following the procedure, as any obstructions affecting your breathing would be eliminated. This can greatly enhance your quality of life. In addition, the frequency of your sinus infections would be reduced. Overall, I think you would be really happy following a septoplasty, which may be performed exclusively. Congratulations on taking the first step toward improving your breathing, and please let me know if I may answer any additional questions for you.

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Not Sure if I Have a Deviated Septum or Need a Rhinoplasty?

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 Aestheically speaking, the nose deviates to the right and from the base view the nasal septum (at least the anterior angle) also deviates to the right.  Septoplasty can remove the anterior deflection as well as portions obstructing the nasal airway while Rhinoplasty can break the bones making the nose more symmetric and refined.  Hope this helps.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


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A septoplasty would probably help your breathing difficulties and help straighten the nose. You made need a combination septorhinoplasty which addresses the cosmetic and functional aspects of the nose. A good consultation with examination would answer your questions. Best regards. Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 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.