Cleveland Head and Neck Clinic

Nasal Obstructive Problems

Deviated Nasal Septum and Enlarged Turbinates

The nasal septum divides the nose into two breathing passages.  If it is deviated or curved to one or both sides, this may lead to obstruction of nasal breathing. Other symptoms would include nosebleeds, nasal drainage, mouth breathing, snoring, facial pressure, or headaches. A crooked or deviated septum is often caused by trauma, but could be congenital or from childbirth.

The turbinates are projections into the nasal passage located along each side of the nose. They help to moisturize and filter the air as it flows through the nose. They may be too large causing blockage, or may swell with allergies, sinus infections, or other conditions contributing to nasal inflammation. 

Prescription nasal sprays, nasal saline washes, decongestants, antihistamines, effective treatment of  sinus infections, or allergy testing with treatment may improve the obstructive symptoms of a deviated septum and turbinate hypertrophy(enlargement). If medical treatment fails, then the septum can be surgically straightened with a septoplasty, and the turbinates can be surgically reduced. These are common procedures are performed through the nostrils, usually in an outpatient setting, sometimes along with endoscopic sinus surgery.