I have been diagnosed with a deviated septum. Is this
condition serious? Will this condition worsen with time? Will
surgery become necessary? As a singer, I am concerned about the
effects of this condition and potential surgery on my vocal health
my tone of voice and my singing. Finally, I would like to know how
to deal with such surgery.
- François Carrier, Montreal.
The nasal septum is a bony and cartilagenous wall
which divides the two nasal cavities. Deviations of the nasal
septum from the midline are not uncommon. They may occur during
growth or as a result of trauma to the nose.
Deviations of the nasal septum are of concern
only if they obstruct the nasal air passageway or the openings to
the sinuses. A deviated septum may lead to chronic sinusitis,
post-nasal drip, ear blockage, or chronic sore throat. Though a
deviated septum will not worsen with time, the associated
conditions such as sinusitis may do so. The surgical procedure
used to correct nasal obstruction and recurrent sinonasal
infection caused by a deviated septum is called a septoplasty.
This surgery does not require hospitalization. Your surgeon can
advise on the appropriate type of anesthesia.
A septoplasty will not alter your vocal
resonance. The benefits include normal nasal function and
humidification of the larynx. The relief of nasal obstruction may
be perceived by your vibrotactile sensory biofeedback. The sound
may feel more symmetrically distributed in the midface area.
- Dr. Chagnon
Françoise P. Chagnon is the Director of the Voice
Lab at the Montréal General Hospital