Does This Appear to Be a Deviated Septum? (photo)

I've had some minor breathing issues (especially any time my nose is congested I can barely breathe). I had dental X-rays taken and saw that my septum area looks uneven. Is this normal or could it be deviated?

Doctor Answers 6

Difficulty Breathing

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
The Dental X-Ray is insufficient.
Difficulty breathing most commonly occurs form one of the followings:

1. Enlarged turbinates -- sausage like structures that humidify the air that can enlarge from allergies.
2. Narrowed Internal or external valves, structures in your nose can collapse when breathing in reducing air flow. Correction requires cartilage grafts to help open the nose at the areas of collapse.
3. Deviated Septum
4. Polyps
5. Broken nasal bones restricting the airway
An examination and/or CT scan can help with the diagnosis.

Best of Luck,
An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice. Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

A deviated septum diagnosed with a CAT scan

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

 A dental x-ray is not sufficient x-ray to diagnose a deviated septum. Physical examination and a CAT scan of the sinuses would determine whether or not there is a deviated nasal septum. There are other causes of nasal  obstruction including hypertrophic turbinates and valve collapse which must be addressed time of the examination by an ENT or facial plastic surgeon.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Its very hard to diagnose a deviated septum from a dental X-Ray

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

To properly diagnose a deviated septum, you should see a nasal specialist such as an Otolaryngologist (ENT). Often a devaited septum can be the cause but there are other causes for nsal congestion as well. If an X-Ray is necessary, the best one would be  a CT Scan. But that should follow an exam by a doctor and possible medical treatment first.

Steven J. Pearlman, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 141 reviews

You might also like...

Does This Appear to Be a Deviated Septum?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The best way to determine the reason for your breathing issues is to have a Facial Plastic Surgeon or ENT look inside your nose. They will also review the dynamics or your airway and determine whether the nasal tissues collapse with breathing. A panorex is helpful to look at your teeth and bones but does not reveal much useful information about your airway or the specific cause of your nasal breathing problems. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Deviated Septum

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Chloe 625, a panorex is not as reliable a tool for diagnosing a deviated septum as a clinical exam.  Minor breathing issues and nasal congestion during times of allergy or viral illness are very common and not diagnostic of a septal deviation.  Minor septal deviations are very common and do not require treatment.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Deviated septum

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hello 'Chloe625', thanks for your question.  Airway obstruction is fairly common and can be due to any of a large number of factors.  Some of these causes include simple allergies to pollen or dust, leading to swelling of the nasal mucosal lining, anatomic deviated septum, post-traumatic nasal fractures, post-rhinoplasty stigmata with deficient cartilaginous support, and chronic sinusitis, just to name a few.  It is difficult to say for certain which of these is the culprit in your particular case without a thorough history of your issues and physical examination.  In addition, the best imaging study to evaluate your nasal anatomy would be a CT scan.  Unfortunately, an X-ray study does not provide the detail necessary to evaluate your nasal septum, especially a dental panorex film that you have obtained.  If you are concerned about your breathing, especially if there are additional cosmetic changes you are looking to make (such as a dorsal hump reduction or bulbous tip refinement), I would recommend consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can perform a thorough examination and go through the options with you.  Hope that helps! -Dr.92660


Parviz Goshtasby, MD, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

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.