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Deviated Septums & Nasal Obstructions

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What are Deviated Septums & Nasal Obstructions?

A deviated septum occurs when the thin wall between your nasal passages, called a nasal septum, is shifted to one side. In many people, the nasal septum is off-center—or deviated—making one nasal passage smaller than the other.

When a deviated septum is severe, it can block one side of the nose and reduce airflow, causing difficulty breathing. It may also cause your nose to dry out and bleed.

A nasal blockage or congestion (obstruction) can occur from a deviated nasal septum, swelling of the tissues lining the nose, or both.

How Common is a Deviated Septum?

Deviated nasal septum and nasal obstructions are extremely common. Many people with a deviated septum don’t have symptoms.

Symptoms of a Deviated Septum or Nasal Obstruction

Common symptoms include:

  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea (breathing stops frequently while sleeping)

What Causes a Deviated Septum?

Some people are born with a deviated septum or develop it over time. It can also be caused by an injury that moves the nasal septum out of place such as a broken nose.

UR Medicine's Treatments for Deviated Septums & Nasal Obstructions

After a diagnosis, your doctor will first work on managing your symptoms. They may prescribe medications like:

  • Decongestants to reduce nasal tissue swelling, helping to keep the airways on both sides of your nose open
  • Antihistamines to help prevent allergy symptoms
  • Nasal corticosteroid sprays to reduce swelling in your nasal passage and help with drainage

If medications don’t work, your doctor may suggest septoplasty, or surgery to correct your deviated septum.

What Sets Us Apart?

As part of the University of Rochester Medical Center's Department of Otolaryngology, our rhinologists are exposed to more complex conditions and unusual conditions than most physicians in the Rochester metropolitan area and surrounding region. Our patients receive comprehensive medical and surgical treatments and immediate access to a network of specialists in multiple disciplines. 

Our state-of-the-art clinic includes four exam rooms that are equipped with high-definition monitors. Our exam rooms also serve as procedure suites for in-office surgeries. We utilize video capture technology to help give our patients a stronger understanding of their conditions.


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6 locations

Ear, Nose, & Throat - Batavia

7995 Call Parkway, Suite 100
Batavia, NY 14020

Ear, Nose, & Throat - Geneva

64 Elizabeth Blackwell Street, Suite A
Geneva, NY 14456

Ear, Nose, & Throat - North Greece

60 Greece Center Drive, Suite 2
Rochester, NY 14612

Ear, Nose, & Throat - Brighton

Clinton Woods
2365 South Clinton Avenue, Suite 200
Rochester, NY 14618

Pediatric Otolaryngology - Rochester

Lattimore Medical Center
125 Lattimore Road, East Entrance, Suite 100
Rochester, NY 14620

Ear, Nose, & Throat - Rochester

Highland Professional Office Building
990 South Avenue, Suite 207
Rochester, NY 14620

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