The septum is a thin wall of bone and cartilage that separates the nostrils into two nasal passages. It also provides structural support for the tip and backbone of the nose. Occasionally, a hole (septal perforation) can form in the septum (inside the nose) as a result of cocaine use, complications from a previous cosmetic rhinoplasty surgery, disease, or trauma. You may not be aware of the problem because it might be asymptomatic (depending on size and extent). If the septal perforation is small, you might notice only a whistling sound when you breathe. If it is moderate in size, you might not notice anything except a bit of crusting. If it is large, you might experience pain, bleeding, difficulty breathing through your nose, cosmetic changes, and possibly even nasal collapse. Although that might come as a surprise, this is the reason why: in order to sense air movement, there must be turbulent airflow. When there is a hole in the septum, there is reduced turbulence, so there is a sensation of less flow—or obstruction!
Although rinsing/irrigating the nasal passages and applying an over-the-counter antibacterial/lubricating gel may be sufficient to treat the discomfort of a small perforation, larger holes and those undermining structural support may require surgical correction. The surgical technique used to repair the hole will depend on both the size of the hole and the health of the surrounding tissues. In some cases, Dr. Yagoda will be able to graft tissue from inside the nose or another part of your body into the hole. Other cases may require her to use donor material or to create a flap of tissue to cover it.
As both an otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Yagoda is able to offer her patients a full spectrum of functional nasal and cosmetic plastic surgery treatment options for septal perforation. Call our NYC office today to schedule your comprehensive consultation.
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