How bad is my deviated septum? (photos)

Is my septum's degree of deviation typical of one that is covered by insurance? If I have the surgery, will it straighten the appearance of my nostrils?

Doctor Answers 11

How bad is my deviated septum?

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 deviated septum as well as nasal valve collapse. Insurance do not cover for Rhinoplasty. nasal tip correction”, “simple rhinoplasty” there is no need for a bone excision however these minor operations cannot be beneficial for everyone. The operation type is need to be determined by the surgeon according to needs of the patient. In these minor operations the rhinoplasty is performed with closed method. The bone and the cartilage tissues are not involved in the surgery directly. Small nasal bumps can be removed in these operations.

Turkey Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Deviated septum

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You do appear to have deviated septum as well as nasal valve collapse. While many insurance companies do offer coverage for breathing problems you would need to check on your own policy yourself to find out if you have that benefit. If you are already seeing a surgeon their office may be able to assist you with this. If you are looking to have some cosmetic work in conjunction with any breathing correction expect to have to pay for that yourself as a separate service even if being done at the same time as your breathing correction.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Deviated septum

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Great questions.  Insurance may cover a deviated septum if there is obstruction and it appears that you do have nasal obstruction on breathing in.  The next hurdle will likely be related to what type of insurance you have.  Some insurance policies do cover septoplasty other do not.  Some will require certain documentation others do not.  And lastly, some policies have high deductibles that make going through with insurance for small procedures not worthwhile.  For example, septoplasty may be covered and reimburses $1000 to the surgeon but you have a 2500 deductible.  In this case you would be 100% responsible for the first 2500 so you would be paying out of pocket for the while thing anyways.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Great candidate

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You are a great candidate to have the caudal end of your septum straightened which will improve the appearance of your nostrils at rest.  In addition, you need to have your nostrils supported with some cartilage which will improve your breathing and prevent the collapse on inspiration.  Insurance usually covers both procedures.  Wish you the best!

Babar Sultan, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Rhinoplasty to straighten the nostrils, septoplasty for breathing

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A rhinoplasty is performed to change the shape of the nose which may include the nostrils, the columella the tip and the bridge. A septoplasty is performed in the back of the nose to improve airflow dynamics, and is done for functional purposes.  The first photograph demonstrates collapsing of the a large rim, which may require cartilage graft. Functional surgery can be billed to the patient's medical insurance, once medical necessity and preauthorization have been accomplished. Cosmetic surgical changes to the nose are paid for by the patient.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Deviated Septum and Nasal Collapse

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Most insurance companies will pay for correction of breathing obstruction caused by a deviated septum and nasal collapse within the limits of the patient's policy. This is a question I'm asked everyday. My staff assists my patients in dealing with their insurance company to try to clarify their benefits.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Best Treatment for Deviated Septum

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Hi Anon,

Whoa, yes you do have quite the deviated septum!  There is collapse of your nose on inspiration.  Insurance should cover the septoplasty procedure which should also result in straightening the appearance of your nostrils.  Make sure to choose your rhinoplasty surgeon most carefully!  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Deviated septum and collapse of nasal valve

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It looks like you have the the two above problems. Each insurance company is a bit different and any cosmetic portion would have to be self-pay.  Best to check with your insurance company first. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Nasal septal deviation

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Thank you for your question. Without a doubt, you have a significant deviation of your caudal septum. The caudal septum is portion of the cartilage septum closest to the upper lip. Also from your inspiratory photograph, you have developed an external nasal valve (nostril) collapse. If your primary goal is improved breathing and straightening, I would expect your surgery to be allowable through your health insurance. I would encourage you to seek care from a double boarded surgeon with expertise in both otolaryngology and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Best of luck!

Stephen P. Smith, Jr., MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon


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Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph, you have external nasal valve collapse and may have a deviated septum. Alar batten grafts can help with the external nasal valve collapse.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and not just a computer animation system. The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 172 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.