Septal perforation

A perforated septum is a hole in the partition of the nose which divides the nose into a left and right side.

What is a Septal perforation?

The septum is the partition in the centre of the nose, which divides the nose into the left and right sides. If a septal perforation (hole) is present in the septum of the nose it cannot close without surgery. There are temporary treatments which can help if the hole becomes troublesome, however. You may rarely see the hole in the nasal septum, but it can cause other problems such as:

- Crusting
- Whistling
- Bleeding
- Nasal blockage
- Nasal shape change

What causes a perforated septum?

The most common cause for a hole in the nasal septum is nose picking or injuries to the nose. Recreational drugs such as cocaine can also cause perforations. Previous surgery to the nose, particularly on the nasal septum, does carry a risk of a septal perforation also. Other health conditions are also associated with septal perforations, although this is rare.

What treatments can be offered for a perforated septum?

It is important to remember that some perforated septums cause no problems and can be safely left alone. Those that do cause problems can be effectively managed with medications to hydrate the nose and keep it clean. If this does not work, then there is the option to place a septal button which temporarily fills the hole to reduce the symptoms. Mr Lakhani prefers to use the magnetic button system as it facilitates easy removal and cleaning and can be placed in the clinic setting. The button does have to be replaced regularly. 

Surgical reconstruction for septal perforation

If medication or a septal button is not successful, then surgery to repair the hole in the partition of the nose can be performed. Mr Lakhani has a specialist interest in septal reconstruction and repair. He tailors his repair technique to the individual to optimise the chance of successful repair. It is vital that you avoid any nose picking and any recreational drugs indefinitely after surgery to reduce the chance of failure of the operation or re-perforation of the septum. 

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