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Steven M. Denenberg, M.D.
Steven M. Denenberg, M.D.

The Nasal Septum

In this chapter we'll discuss the nasal septum.  The septum, as you know, is a wall between the left and right sides of the nose.  The picture above left shows the septum as the white structure in the midline.  In the diagram above right, the septum is pink and the lower lateral cartilages are green.

The cartilage of the septum is covered on each side by the same soft, pink tissue that lines the inside of your mouth.  That tissue is called mucosa.  In the photographs above, the mucosa has been elevated off of the septum so all you see is the bare white cartilage.

The septum pictured above is straight and does not interfere with the airflow through this person's nose.  If the septum is off center, or "deviated," it can cause an airway obstruction.


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The photo above shows the position of part of the cartilaginous portion of the septum.  We are looking "through" the side wall of the nose to see the pink-shaded septum, the wall between the two sides of the nose, in the middle of the nasal cavity.  The septum approaches and abuts the inside of the columella of the nose.  You will recall that the columella is the central column of skin and cartilage and tissue between the two nostrils.  If you put your finger on the tip of your nose, and slide your finger down the base of your nose to your upper lip, you have run your finger along your columella.

The bottom edge of the septum parallels the columella.  We typically approach the septum surgically by making an incision adjacent to the bottom of the septum, along the black line in the diagram, just behind the columella.


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All surgery depicted in this essay, except where noted, was performed by Dr. Denenberg