Nasal obstruction, stuffiness and congestion affect millions of Americans. It can arise from a number of causes, including a deviated septum, swelling of the mucosal covering of the turbinates (the bony structures that line the inside of the nose), sinus blockage, enlarged adenoids, and aging.
Tests for nasal obstruction include nasal endoscopy and CT scans. If non-surgical methods such as nose sprays and decongestants prove insufficient to reduce chronic congestion, surgery may be elected.
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The septum is a structure made of bone and cartilage that spans the nasal cavity from the nostrils to the back of the throat. In many people the septum has a slight bend, making one side of the nasal cavity smaller than the other. In some cases the deviation is significant enough to cause problems, including congestion, sinusitis and rhinosinusitis, nosebleeds and breathing difficulties.
Surgery to straighten the septum may be recommended if non-surgical methods such as nose sprays and decongestants don't relieve symptoms.
Septoplasty re-shapes the cartilage and bone of the septum to improve air flow through the nose. It may be combined with cosmetic improvements to the nose (in which case it is called septorhinoplasty). Full enjoyment of results from septoplasty are usually experienced within a week or two when swelling is reduced and splints or packing are removed.
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Sinus surgery widens the sinus openings and allows the removal of mucus or diseased tissue for patients who suffer frequent sinus infections. The procedure can be performed endoscopically, using a thin fiberoptic tube (an endoscope) inserted through the nostrils. This minimally invasive technique lets patients enjoy a shorter recovery time and less post-operative pain. In addition, real-time video imaging guides the surgeon inside the nose and sinuses.
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Sleep Apnea / Snoring
Sleep-disordered breathing describes a group of abnormal breathing patterns experienced during sleep, which may manifest as light or heavy snoring, pauses in breathing (sleep apnea) or complete airway collapse. People with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times per night and sometimes for a minute or longer each time. The soft tissue at the back of the throat closes, blocking (obstructing) the person’s airway. A common warning sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring (especially snoring interspersed with gasps or lack of breathing), although the two are not always related.
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