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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Deviated Septum
December 2001

Q. My Oto-Rhino-Laryngology (ORL) doctor diagnosed me with a deviated septum (I have a bit of trouble breathing and I also have allergic rhinitis). I will be having laser surgery to correct it. How good is this method? Is the traditional surgery (septoplasty) more efficient? Can you provide me with more information?

A. You have mentioned 2 conditions contributing to your stuffy nose, allergy and the deviated septum. A deviated septum is a common condition and may or may not cause much trouble. A reasonable approach to treatment would be to treat the allergies first with prescription nasal spray or antihistamines or both and see how much inprovement occurs before proceeding to surgery, unless the septum condition is severe. Surgery is done to remove or re-position tissue to improve the flow of air. A laser is a concentrated energy beam which can be finely controlled to remove excess tissue by destroying it. The doctor may have decided from an exam that this would work well in your case. Since your condition is mild, treating the allergies first seems logical.




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