The nasal septum is a central wall made of thin cartilage in front and thin bone in the back, and divides the nose into two separate left and right chambers. A deviated septum is an abnormal or crooked configuration of the cartilage and bone which may cause problems with proper breathing or nasal discharge.
Estimates are that 80 percent of people in the world have nasal septums that are off center – some are mild and rarely lead to symptoms, and some deviations are severe. Only about 5% of these people seek medical attention for their septal deviation (which is still quite a large number).
The most common symptom from a deviated septum is difficulty breathing through the nose. The symptoms are usually worse on one side, and in some cases the drainage of the sinuses is blocked and results in repeated sinus infections.
A deviated septum may be present at birth, caused by an injury/trauma, or result from damage from previous medical treatments.