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Repair of Nasal Septal Perforation - Surgery Overview

The nasal septum is the structure between the nostrils that separates the nasal passages. The septum, composed of cartilage and thin bone, can develop a hole (perforation) in the cartilage as a complication of previous nasal surgery, from cocaine use, excessive nose picking, trauma, cancer, or diseases such as tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, or syphilis. As damage reduces blood supply in the septum, the cartilage begins to die, and a hole develops.

Some perforations can cause bleeding, pain, and a whistling sound when inhaling. If dried blood or scabs build up, you could also have trouble breathing through your nose.

Many perforations do not need to be closed. Small perforations may need only frequent rinsing with saltwater (saline) solutions and applying lubricating gels. Both can be bought without a prescription.

Several surgical techniques may be used to close a larger perforation. A surgeon may use tissue from inside your nose or from another part of your body (autograft) to stitch into the hole. Other doctors may use tissue to create a flap to cover the perforation.

Surgery for large perforations usually requires general anesthesia.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 14, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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