This may be highly confusing for anyone who has been diagnosed with either a deviated septum or with sinusitis (a type of infection of the sinuses).
A septum is the thin cartilage and bone dividing the nostrils into two halves. Unfortunately, when you have a “deviated” septum, your septum is not in its rightful place (the center), but slightly inclined on one side.
But sinuses are tiny air pockets located within the bones of the face. “How on earth can there be deviated septum sinus infections”, you ask!
To understand this link better, let us first try to get a grasp on the several sinuses we have. Sinuses are located:
- Above the eyes, in the center region of each eyebrow;
- Within the cheekbones, on either side of the nose; and
- Between the eyes, just behind the bridge of the nose.
(For an excellent diagram of this, check out this Web MD picture of the sinuses.)
All these sinuses are connected to the nose. They are lined with thin hair-like structures called cilia which sweep mucus along the respiratory tract and removes all the debris down the nasal cavity.
What causes deviated septum sinus infections?
A deviated septum can cause obstruction to this important drainage system. Trapped mucus can gradually fill the sinus pockets resulting in an environment conducive for bacterial growth and subsequent infections. This is the root cause for deviated septum sinus infections.
What is the typical growth pattern of deviated septum sinus infections?
During the early stages of development of sinus infections, the cilia are lost and the mucus gets thicker. If the infection is not treated early, the lining of the sinus begins to change and the mucus gets even thicker. Subsequently, the bacteria also get trapped and start to proliferate. Once a patient reaches this stage, a surgical intervention often becomes necessary.
How are deviated septum and sinus infections connected?
A deviated septum is simply a misaligned septum. It can cause or aggravate sinus infections by causing an obstruction in the nasal pathway and also by impairing drainage from the sinuses. This is why and how a deviated septum and sinus infections are closely connected.
What are my options for treating deviated septum sinus infections?
Depending on the severity of the sinus infections the ENT specialist may decide to perform a sinus surgery.
When the cause of repeated sinus infections has been diagnosed as a deviated septum, the doctor may also recommend septoplasy, a surgical procedure done to rectify a deviated septum. In this procedure the septum is re-positioned in the right place that eases breathing.
In the sinus surgery, the doctor may inflate the sinus pockets to drain out the accumulated mucus. Therefore when the twin surgeries are performed, you may achieve a condition where your sinuses are able to clear the mucus and other nasal debris comfortably through a cleared passage and you are also able to breathe properly.