Deviated septum surgery: Are you struggling to breathe?


If you are finding yourself struggling to breathe, feeling like your nose is blocked, or trouble sleeping, then you may need deviated septum surgery. The onset of Autumn brings Halloween, pumpkin patches, hues of red and orange, and pumpkin spice swiftly becomes part of all things food and drink. Alongside our favourite pastimes of the season come some autumnal challenges: worsening allergies, seasonal illness, respiratory triggers and flu to name a few.

World sinus health awareness day is an annual campaign designed to increase awareness of sinus illness and draw attention to the impact of nasal symptoms on sufferers. Chronic rhinosinusitis, or inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses, affects as many as 10% of UK adults. Symptoms including nasal congestion, repeated infection and facial ache can have a significant impact on quality of life, especially when treatments provide no relief.

An important and regularly treatable cause of nasal congestion is septal deviation. When the structures dividing the nasal cavity are misaligned, airflow can be obstructed leading to a sensation of blockage. This is often worsened during exercise and can be particularly disruptive during sleep.

deviated septum, deviated septum surgery, nasal septum cartoon, infographic, diagram

How to fix a deviated septum?

If nasal obstruction is something that has affected you throughout your life or is a more recent consequence of injury or trauma to the nose, a surgical procedure called septoplasty can be performed to correct the deviation and restore the function of the nose. During this procedure, a specialist surgeon makes cuts in the internal lining of the nose to expose the underlying bone and cartilage. The surgeon is then able to make changes to the shape of these tissues.

If alongside your concerns around nasal airflow, the shape and appearance of your nose is a cause of self-consciousness, septoplasty can often be combined with nose reshaping surgery at The Harley Medical Group. A Septorhinoplasty procedure allows your surgeon to restore the functionality of the nose whilst making changes to the external contours to achieve your desired appearance.

deviated septum surgery on woman

Will the NHS fund my septoplasty?

Firstly, it is highly unlikely that NHS funding will be provided for any surgical procedure performed for purely cosmetic purposes. Whilst this probably does not come as a surprise, many patients assume that deviated septum surgery will be funded if their breathing is affected. However, there are a number of important considerations to be made:

  • The deviated septum must be the cause of recurrent sinus inflammation that is not remedied by maximal medical treatment.
  • You experience regular nose bleeding that is deemed a consequence of your septal deviation.
  • Your deviated septum causes continuous breathing difficulty that has not responded to maximal medical treatment.

Funding applications for combined septoplasty and rhinoplasty procedures are also rarely considered.

Who is suitable for deviated septum surgery?

Eligibility for septoplasty is determined by several factors including the presence of obstructive symptoms, the cause of those symptoms and the extent to which surgery will improve symptoms and be of benefit to the patient.

If you are wondering how severe your symptoms are and whether surgery would be suitable in your circumstances, you can arrange a no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced Patient Advisors to discuss your concerns and explore your options.

In the meantime, you might find it useful to complete our sample of a questionnaire that is used commonly in practice to gauge the severity of obstructive symptoms:

Answer the questions below for an indication of how severe your nasal obstruction is:

  • 0 = Not a problem for me
  • 1 = Very mild problem
  • 2 = Moderate problem
  • 3 = Fairly bad problem
  • 4 = Severe problem

How much of a problem have the following conditions been for you over the past month (0-4)?

  1. Nasal congestion or stuffiness
  2. Nasal blockage or obstruction
  3. Trouble breathing through my nose
  4. Trouble sleeping
  5. Unable to get enough air through my nose during exercise or exertion

Add together your score for each condition to give your total. This score is then multiplied by 5 to give the overall score

  • 5-25 = MILD
  • 30-50 = MODERATE
  • 55-75 = SEVERE
  • 80-100 = EXTREME

Septoplasty is most likely to be of benefit to those who score higher on this scale, with 81% of patients with severe obstruction experiencing improvement 12 months after surgery.

You can hear a patient’s perspective of septorhinoplasty below. Brandon, a patient at The Harley Medical Group underwent Septorhinoplasty with Mr Premjit Randhawa. Brandon was experiencing trouble with breathing which was affecting his confidence and disrupting his sleep, so decided to undergo deviated septum surgery.

You can also view a gallery of before and after images for Septorhinoplasty procedures performed by the experts at The Harley Medical Group for an insight into what can be achieved with this procedure. It is not only a deviated septum surgery, but for anyone concerned with the appearance of their nose.

Keen to read more about rhinoplasty surgery with The Harley Medical Group?

Choosing Surgical or Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty

Posted September 28, 2022
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