If your nose looks uneven when looked at head-on, you may have what’s called a deviated septum. The septum of the nose is the skin and cartilage that divides your two nostrils. In some people, due to injury or just naturally, they have a deviated septum, meaning the septum is askew. It can cause breathing issues and cosmetic issues. It also may result in sinus problems like recurrent sinus infections. Can a balloon sinuplasty procedure help a deviated septum? The short answer is no.
Balloon sinuplasty: what does it do?
A balloon sinuplasty is an outpatient procedure in which an endoscope is inserted through the nose and into the sinus cavity, after which a balloon at the end of a wire is inflated within the sinus cavity. It opens up and enlarges the area without the need for surgery. It relieves symptoms of recurrent mild to moderate sinus infections or sinus congestion. It has a very high rate of success; studies showed a reduction of symptoms in around 95% of patients, and 73% of patients were symptom-free.
Can a balloon sinuplasty be performed on someone with a deviated septum?
Yes. If someone suffers from recurrent sinus issues, and a doctor determines that they are a good candidate for a balloon sinuplasty, it can be done, even if they have a deviated septum. The equipment used is so thin that it can fit even through the most deviated septums.
Will a balloon sinuplasty fix a deviated septum?
No. While balloon sinuplasty can alleviate sinus issues as stated above; and is highly recommended for someone experiencing issues due to a deviated septum but would like to avoid surgery—a balloon sinuplasty alone cannot fix the appearance of the nose or straighten out a deviated septum. A balloon sinuplasty works on the sinus cavities, which are located on either side of the nose. It does not affect the septum.
In order to fix a deviated septum, surgery is needed. Septoplasty is a surgery to correct the crooked partition (deviated septum) inside the nose, made of thin bone and cartilage.
The bottom line is this: if you have a deviated septum and experience sinus issues (which is often the case, especially with more severely deviated septums), a balloon sinuplasty can usually relieve sinus symptoms. However, if you are looking to improve the look of your nose, rhinoplasty is needed. Often, insurance will cover your septoplasty as part of your rhinoplasty if your deviated septum is causing issues with your breathing or other health impairments. Talk to your doctor about which is best for your case.