Risks from Perforated Septum if Left Untreated?

I always have an abnormal amount of dried mucus, crusting and scabbing in my nose and it's always stuffed. Thus, I'm forever picking my nose to alleviate the symptoms. I went to an ENT and he said I have a perforated septum and has ordered a cat scan to get further information before he discusses what to do next.

I'm freaking out. I'm assuming my nose picking caused the perforation. What are the dangers if left untreated? Is there hope for my nose to ever be normal? What are my treatment options? Can treatment stop the crusting, scabbing and stuffiness? All info helpful!

Doctor Answers 3

Septal Perforation Untreated

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Septal perforations range in size and symptoms.  Typically, posterior septal perforations can be left alone that are asymptomatic while the more anterior the perforation the more likely it will become symptomatic.  If a perforation is stable in size (especially if the patients is using nasal saline, gel and other nasal emollient) then observation is fine.  If the perforation continues to grow in size or becomes symptomatic, repair can be considered.

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 181 reviews

Perforated nasal septum

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Rhere are many causes for perforated nasal septum. It is important to find the cause and treat the cause, so that the perforation does not enlage further, which can cause collapse of the nose. Untreated small perforations may not cause any problem except breathing issues when you breath from the nose due to air turbulance.

Continue the work up with your surgeon and he/she will give you the appropriate medical advise.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

What causes perforated nasal septum

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The perforated septum can be left alone but more important question is why do you have one?

It can be caused by nose picking, frequent use of OTC nasal sprays, cocaine use, rare metabolic disorders like Wegners Granulomatosis, Sarcoidosis, TB etc.

Once the medical work up is done then you need to start lubricating the nose to avoid crusting by using ary gel (OTC), saline spray and using a cool mist humidifier at night.

There is no inherent risk in leaving the perforated septum alone.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

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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.