Deviated Nasal Septum and Turbinates

Deviated Nasal Septum and Turbinates

Common Asked Questions on Deviated Nasal Septum & Turbinates in Singapore

What is a Deviated Nasal Septum?

A Deviated Nasal Septum is a condition in Singapore where one nasal passage is more narrowed than the other. This is due to the cartilage separating the nose in half being crooked due to trauma being inflicted upon the nose or the patient being born with the feature. However, a deviated nasal septum can be serious and lead to problems with breathing.

What causes a Deviated Nasal Septum?

A deviated nasal septum is actually a common occurrence in Singapore. Many Singaporeans are born with a slight deviation in the nasal septum, which is the cartilage separating the nasal passages. It is rare that an issue will be raised unless the deviation is quite crooked and affects their daily lives.

A deviated nasal septum is often a congenital condition. Due to the pressure of the delivery process at birth, a deviated nasal septum can develop in the baby.

However, many people do develop a deviated nasal septum later in life due to injury during sports or getting into an accident. In these cases, the nose has been broken and the nasal septum is forced to shift or becomes displaced.

Some causes of a deviated nasal septum in Singapore may include: 

  • Injury to the face and nose
  • Present from birth
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Sports and other hands-on activities

What are symptoms of a Deviated Nasal Septum?

  • Blockages in one side of the nose
  • Facial tension and pain
  • Repeated sinus infections
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Rhinitis and sinusitis
  • Postnasal drip
  • Difficulty breathing through nose
  • Snoring

Sometimes, sinus-related symptoms may be due to an enlarged turbinate. 

What is a Turbinate, and what happens when it’s enlarged?

Turbinates are bony structures in the nose that regulate your breathing and filter airflow. When irritated or inflamed, turbinates can cause runny nose, headaches, snoring and even shortness of breath. 

Is a Deviated Nasal Septum painful?

A deviated nasal septum may be painful if the deviation is serious enough to cause discomfort in your daily life. A deviated nasal septum can cause frequent blockages in the nose leading to conditions such as rhinitis and sinusitis. These conditions can easily become chronic, causing infections and even nosebleeds due to repeated inflammation of the nasal cavity.

When you develop a deviated nasal septum due to trauma to the nose or face during sports or an accident, it can become painful if not detected at the time of injury. You may only become aware of breathing problems sometime after the incident.

Facial tension and pain can also be disruptive to daily activities as they usually present on one side of the face. This typically occurs on the side of the nose where the deviation tends towards. Patients who suffer from a deviated nasal septum do prefer to sleep on the other side for this reason. Yet they may still experience sleep apnea as a result of difficulties in breathing, which leads to not having a restful night’s sleep on a regular basis.

Who is at risk of suffering from a Deviated Nasal Septum in Singapore?

Children and adults in Singapore are at risk of suffering from a deviated nasal septum depending on the type of lifestyle that they are engaged in. While many Singaporeans are born with a slight deviation of the nasal septum, it is often not serious enough to lead to problems that may affect their quality of life.

Those who frequently engage in sports activities with hands-on action are prone to developing a deviated nasal septum. This is due to the susceptibility of injuries brought upon by accidents in-game which can cause falls or trauma to the nose and face. As this is a condition that gradually develops after the incident, it is also common to not remember what could have led your nasal septum to become deviated in the first place.

How is a Deviated Nasal Septum diagnosed?

A deviated nasal septum is diagnosed through a physical examination of your nose by your ENT doctor. He or she will confirm your symptoms and make a deduction as to the possibility of a deviated septum.

Using an instrument like a nasal speculum, your doctor will check your nasal cavity for any signs of deviation by inserting it into your nose. This can be checked by comparing the size of each nasal passage to see if either one is narrower than the other. You should also inform your doctor of any habits you have developed to counter this issue, such as sleeping only on one side.

What are some treatment options for a Deviated Nasal Septum in Singapore?

In Singapore, a deviated nasal septum is typically treated through surgery. This is common in cases where the patient is experiencing serious discomfort. During surgery (septoplasty), your doctor will reposition the nasal septum so that it is more centralized within the nasal cavity. You may choose to undergo a septoplasty for a more permanent solution.

For those who are not experiencing serious symptoms, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines, nasal decongestant sprays or steroid nasal spray to help manage your condition if surgery is not an option for you.

What are some treatment options for enlarged Turbinates in Singapore?

Non-surgical treatments for enlarged turbinates include: 

  • Antihistamines 
  • Nasal steroid spray 
  • Saline rinse 

If non-surgical treatments don’t work, a submucous resection of the turbinates may be done. This procedure involves removing a section of the abnormal turbinate bone or reducing the inside of the mucosa of the affected turbinate. This is an in-office, 15 minute procedure.

Allergy & Sinus ENT Specialist Centre
Head & Neck Surgery Singapore

Dr Soma Subramaniam
Consultant ENT Specialist and Surgeon

    * Please note that the requested appointment date and time is subject to availability. The respective clinic will contact you for confirmation.

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