Septal perforation

The nasal septum is the structure that divides the inside of the nose into two sides. The septum is made of cartilage and bone and mucosal lining on both sides. A septal perforation occurs when there is a defect, or hole, in both sides of the lining and the cartilage/bone. Septal perforations may be caused by:

  • Nasal trauma
  • Prescription medication
  • Illegal drug use
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Infection
  • Prior nasal surgery
  • Cancer (although this is very rare)

Often, septal perforations do not cause symptoms. However, they may cause the following:

  • Nasal blockage
  • Crusting
  • Dryness
  • Drainage
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Whistling noise with breathing

When a septal perforation is detected, it is important to determine the cause for the perforation and prescribe appropriate medical treatment when necessary. Often, this includes keeping the nose clean and moist with nasal saline spray and topical ointment.

When symptoms persist despite medical treatment, surgical correction may be necessary. There are a variety of surgical techniques that can be used to accomplish this goal.

  • One simple technique involves the placement of a septal button, a soft, plastic implant, into the perforation to “plug” the tear. The implant is not visible, does not hurt, typically stays in for as long as needed, and can be removed at any time.
  • More involved surgical techniques involve nasal surgery with grafts and other reconstructive surgical maneuvers.

At the Raleigh Capitol Sinus & Allergy Center, our experienced surgeons will promptly evaluate your condition. After a thorough evaluation, our surgeons will discuss treatment options with you and help you decide which treatment option is best for you. If surgery is needed, our surgeons will use the latest techniques to safely and effectively perform your surgery.

For an appointment contact us.