Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Dr. Ayad Harb, one of the world's leading plastic surgeons
Breathing effortlessly is an intrinsic part of our lives, fundamental to our existence. Yet, many are unaware of its importance until faced with complications. Within the realm of respiratory concerns, two central issues often emerge: breathing difficulties stemming from structural anomalies and the complications arising from a deviated septum. At SRGN, we champion the cause of restoring normalcy, ensuring that every breath taken is a testament to comfort and health.
Breathing difficulties can manifest from a vast array of sources. While some may experience these challenges due to intrinsic factors directly tied to the anatomical or structural shifts in the nasal passages or sinuses, others find themselves grappling with them due to extrinsic reasons. The external factors might range from environmental triggers, such as allergens, to lifestyle habits like prolonged smoking. Irrespective of the underlying cause, challenges in breathing can severely curtail the intake of oxygen. This diminished oxygen level, in turn, can lead to a plethora of health concerns. Fatigue, reduced stamina, and even cognitive disturbances can become daily battles for those affected.
The realm of nasal health also brings forth the issue of a deviated septum. This condition is characterised by the nasal septum, the thin wall dividing the nostrils, being off-centre or displaced to one side. Ideally situated, the septum should allow for an equal distribution of air through both nostrils. A deviation from this norm can lead to one side of the nose experiencing reduced airflow, thus complicating the breathing process. While some are born with a deviated septum, others might develop it as a result of an injury.
The consequences of a deviated septum are manifold. A person might find themselves at the receiving end of chronic sinus infections, or frequently suffer from nosebleeds. The complications can extend to nocturnal concerns, such as snoring or sleep apnea, or manifest as a persistent post nasal drip. More subtly, but equally impactful, is the shift in the functional workload of the nose. A blocked or narrowed nostril due to a deviated septum can mean the other nostril compensates for this change, leading to overuse symptoms.
SRGN's approach to these respiratory concerns is both comprehensive and patient-centric. At the onset, our team of specialists delves deep to understand the root cause. The preliminary step in our intervention process involves an exhaustive examination. This might encompass a detailed history-taking process, where the patient's past medical history, familial tendencies, and lifestyle choices are mapped. Following this, a meticulous physical examination is undertaken. For cases requiring a deeper understanding, diagnostic measures, such as imaging or endoscopy, might be employed. These techniques allow our experts to visualise the inner recesses of the nasal passages, ensuring a nuanced understanding of the problem at hand.
With the insights garnered, SRGN is better poised to craft a solution tailored to the patient's unique needs. Our endeavour is always to offer treatments that are rooted in evidence and underscored by a commitment to patient well-being. Through our interventions, we hope to restore the ease of breathing, ensuring each patient can savour the simple pleasure of a deep, unhindered breath.
Breathing difficulties, though common in description, manifest in numerous forms. The root of these difficulties often lies in the structural or functional anomalies of the respiratory system. One such type is structural breathing difficulties. They can emerge due to inherent irregularities in the nasal anatomy. For instance, nasal polyps, benign growths lining the nasal passages or sinuses, can obstruct airflow. Another example includes concha bullosa, a pneumatized (air-filled) middle turbinate in the nasal passage, which can also contribute to airflow restriction. Enlarged turbinates, bone and soft tissue structures on the side of the nasal passages, when swollen, further complicate the free flow of air.
Then there are functional breathing difficulties. Unlike their structural counterparts, these are often not tied to physical obstructions. Instead, they arise from conditions or habits that cause the nasal passages to function less effectively. Chronic inflammation, often a result of allergies, leads to swelling in the nasal passages. This swelling narrows the passages, making breathing laborious. Similarly, lifestyle habits, especially smoking, can be detrimental. Prolonged smoking can lead to chronic bronchitis, a condition where the bronchial tubes in the lungs get inflamed. This inflammation impedes airflow, making each breath a conscious effort.
Both structural and functional breathing difficulties can severely hamper the quality of life. But understanding their nuances can pave the way for more effective treatments.
A deviated septum, though a singular term, presents in multiple ways, each with its unique challenges and manifestations. At its core, a deviated septum refers to the misalignment of the wall between the two nostrils. But the degree and direction of this misalignment can vary.
A simple deviation is where the septum is slightly off-centre. Most people, in fact, have some degree of septal deviation. However, in its milder forms, a deviated septum often doesn't present any symptoms. It's only when the deviation is significant enough to obstruct the nasal passages that it becomes a concern.
On the more severe end of the spectrum lies complex deviation. Here, the septum may be severely displaced, taking an S-shape or even a bowed form. Such deviations often result in noticeable blockages. These blockages not only hamper breathing but can lead to other complications. Chronic sinusitis, frequent nosebleeds, and facial pain are just a few of the challenges faced by those with a complex deviated septum.
The exact nature and direction of the septal deviation dictate its impact on the individual's well-being and the subsequent course of treatment. Whether mild or severe, understanding the type of deviation is the first step in addressing its complications.
When addressing breathing complications or the repercussions of a deviated septum, the medical fraternity has evolved various treatments over the years. Two of the most prominent ones, which SRGN specialises in, are Rhinoplasty and the use of Dermal Fillers.
Rhinoplasty, commonly recognized as a "nose job", carries with it a history of being perceived primarily as a cosmetic procedure. However, its utility goes far beyond aesthetics. Rhinoplasty serves as a pivotal intervention for rectifying structural anomalies within the nasal cavity. A subset of this procedure, known as septorhinoplasty, is specifically tailored to address issues with the septum. By meticulously realigning the septum, surgeons can counteract the obstructions and restore the natural airflow within the nostrils. In instances where the nasal obstruction is attributed to enlarged turbinates, rhinoplasty can be synergized with turbinate reduction to ensure optimal results. The hallmark of SRGN's approach to rhinoplasty is its emphasis on minimally invasive techniques. Such a methodology not only ensures a faster recuperation but also guarantees a natural postoperative appearance, ensuring patients regain confidence alongside their breathing comfort.
On the other end of the treatment spectrum lies the application of Dermal Fillers. While surgery has its place, not every nasal issue mandates such invasive intervention. Dermal fillers present a viable alternative for select cases. These fillers consist of gel-like substances, often formulated from hyaluronic acid. When administered accurately, they can deftly reshape either the internal nasal passages or even the external facade of the nose. For instance, in scenarios where the nasal valve collapses during inhalation, dermal fillers can be introduced to bolster the valve structure, preventing its premature collapse and thereby facilitating smoother breathing. One of the undeniable advantages of this treatment is its non-invasiveness. Patients can sidestep the prolonged recovery associated with surgeries, experience virtually no downtime, and bask in immediate results. However, it’s paramount to understand the temporality of dermal fillers. Their efficacy typically spans between six months to a year, necessitating periodic renewals for sustained results.
In conclusion, the realm of treatments for breathing difficulties and septum deviations is vast. SRGN takes immense pride in its patient-centric approach. Prioritising patient education, every individual is equipped with comprehensive information about potential treatments. This empowers them to make informed decisions, in sync with their comfort and medical requirements. With safety as a cornerstone and an unwavering commitment to leveraging the latest in medical advancements, SRGN aims to be the beacon of hope for those seeking to reclaim the ease and joy of unhindered breathing.