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My deviated septum story

A deviated septum, that was the diagnosis in the year 2000, as well as chronic sinusitis.  Several years before this I had been having trouble with nasal congestion and did not realize I even had a deviated nasal septum.  I have never had an infection due to this condition but I did have several related problems.  It had gotten to the point when I would eat I would find myself chewing my food with my mouth open.  I realized I was not getting enough air through my nose!  Also I had been battling an allergy to grass, you know, the stuff that grows on your lawn.  It had gotten to the point where if I would mow the lawn I would start sneezing, almost incessantly, until finally my throat would start to constrict and I would have to stop mowing.  At times I would have a strong sinus headache as well.  I did not realize the impact a deviated septum would have on all these conditions until I had deviated septum surgery.

Fresh breath information:  A Free Trial Offer from Therabreath.

Please also see My deviated septum surgery for information about the actual surgery experience.  Also please see information regarding costs of the procedures involved, understanding CPT codes, and decoding them.

My deviated septumdeviated: crooked, misaligned.

septum: cartilage separating nasal passages, nose

Sinus Allergy and Sinus Congestion

I probably acquired my grass allergy mowing fields on our property in the mountains.  I would go out on a hot summer day mowing away with a 42" sickle bar mower.  Pollen and dust would fly everywhere and there was a time I really had no problems with this, but that came to an end.  I noticed the allergy at first mowing the lawn, but it slowly got worse to the point it was quite a nuisance.  I do not know when I acquired my deviated nose, perhaps there was a time when I was very young and was playing on top of 3 foot concrete pipes, I fell, and smashed my nose into the pipe; could have been then!

Visiting my doctor, allergies

Sinus/Nasal Irrigators may help  

When I first went to see my doctor, Dr. Gary Sussman, regarding the allergy I expected the usual; well tough it out, but, initially he treated my allergies very effectively with a cortisone nasal spray.    And that treatment served me well for several years, but my nose was congested regardless of the state of my allergic condition.  Note: I have since learned that these cortisone sprays can lead to, Low Tension Glaucoma, which I now have. 

I still had difficulty breathing and more so through my right nostril, could I have a septum that has been damaged?

Back to the doctor, Chronic Sinusitis

I went back to my doctor again expecting to hear, well there is nothing more that can be done, but my doctor astonished me and said go get a CT Scan of the sinuses, breathing problems like yours can be corrected easily these days, perhaps you have a problem with your septum.  

The CT Scan

I arrived at the hospital X-ray department, the only problem was that a request of "CT Scan of the sinus" may not have been specific enough.  Apparently "ear, nose, and throat" specialists might request several different types of scans.  This was cleared up very quickly, the staff probably called my doctor for clarification.  The CT scan is very straight forward, you do not need any medication or iodine, etc.  It took about 20 minutes or so, at one point they asked me to hold my breath, I think for about 20 seconds, which was also easy.

Please also see My Deviated Septum Surgery!  Check out this link to see another deviated septum!  If you have a scan like this done you can probably get a copy for around $10.00.  I took mine home with me after surgery.  There are many more pictures or cross sections than this one.  

Back to my doctor

You should see an "ear, nose, and throat" specialist ( Otolaryngology ). It is likely you have chronic sinusitis and perhaps a septum that is deviated.  He can fix you right up.  I said "Is that with a hammer and chisel?"  He said "No, no, no, it is all done with lasers these days!"  More about septal deviation from the
American Society of Otolaryngology.

To my specialist; Septoplasty 

Dr. Alan Berger; Dr. Berger looked at my CT scan for about one second and said yes you have Chronic Sinusitis, you have a deviated nasal septum contributing to the problem.  You have growths in your nasal cavities, see here and here in your scan, that material should not be there.  We can give you out patient surgery and fix you up quite well.  The surgery will require general anesthesia.  You will be fully recovered in about six weeks, and your health insurance does cover the treatment of chronic sinusitis.

Contact Information for Dr. Berger, Norristown

What about snoring

These sound machines have really helped us sleep!  

With all this restricted breathing I had developed a substantial snoring problem.

Dr. Berger said "no guarantees" but if you let me do a little additional work while treating your sinuses we can probably reduce or eliminate your snoring.  This treatment can be done in my office but it will take several visits and the recovery time will probably be longer, why not get it all done at once in the hospital.  I tentatively agreed, the work involved removing my uvula and a procedure that tightens the tissues in the back of the throat.  So in addition to my nasal passages recovering after surgery, I would have a soar throat for several weeks after the surgery.  Even in 2004 my snoring has mostly been eliminated.  When I do snore the room no longer reverberates!  I was a little concerned about the uvula, but in hind sight, no problem.  Insurance does not cover this additional work but I think it was well worth the cost (<$2000 in 2000! ) and minor discomfort.

The hospital visit and deviated septum surgery, continued

This article is continued, please see:
Surgery for a deviated septum.

I hope you find this helpful if you are having these difficulties or are considering surgery.










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