DNS or Deviated Nasal Septum is a common medical problem and affects children and adults alike.
The Septum (Septum - a partition separating two chambers) is the mid line structure in the nose which divides the nose into the left and right nostril.
Though meant to be straight and in the mid line, the Septum is quite often deviated to one direction or the other.
Causes of DNS
- Congenital - A child may be born with a Deviated Septum - this could be due to pressure on the very malleable septum of the Foetus while in the mother's womb, or may sometimes may be related to birth trauma.
- Post Traumatic - As the child grows there are frequent minor accidents to the Nose which could cause the Septum to deviate. This may also happen on account of sports injuries later in life like Cricket or Boxing. Other accidents including Road traffic accidents can cause the Septum to become crooked.
- Secondary - A long standing Tumour/ Polyps/ Concha Bullosa or other swelling inside the nose can cause the Septum to deviate to the other side.
A Nasal Septal Deviation typically causes
- nasal blockage
- increase in snoring
- occasionally predisposes to nasal bleeds
- feeling of congestion
One way for the patient to know for herself that the Septum is deviated is to pull the cheek to one side - this opens up the nostril and helps the patient breathe better. In fact patients understand this over a period of time and can subconsciously keep adopting this technique to open up their blocked nostril.
What Should Be Done?
For a Septum that is deviated enough to cause nasal obstruction surgery is the only option. One can understand that no medicine can straighten out a bent bone or cartilage.
The surgery is fairly simple and patients can hope to return to active work within 3-5 days of the surgery.
In the recent advances, this surgery can now be performed with an Endoscope as well.
The earlier problem of long ribbon packs being introduced in the nose is now ameliorated and we use soft Merocel packs with built in nasal airway to help the patient breathe even with the pack is in situ.
The results of the surgery are usually gratifying and long lasting. It is possible that in order to open up the nasal passage completely the ENT Surgeon may reduce the Inferior Turbinate/s as well.
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