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Perforations of the Septum

By

Marvin P. Fried

, MD, Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital of Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
Click here for the Professional Version

Inside the nose is the nasal cavity, which is divided into two passages by the nasal septum. The nasal septum is composed of both bone and cartilage and extends from the nostrils to the back of the nose.

Ulcers (sores) and holes (perforations) in the nasal septum may occur as a result of

Symptoms of Perforations of the Septum

Symptoms may include crusting around the ulcer or perforation and repeated nosebleeds. People who have small perforations in the septum may make a whistling sound when they breathe.

Diagnosis of Perforations of the Septum

  • A doctor's evaluation

Doctors examine the front part of the nose and, to view septal perforations, insert an endoscope (a flexible viewing tube) into the nose.

Treatment of Perforations of the Septum

  • Medicated ointment or saline nasal spray for ulcers

  • Rarely surgery for perforations

For septal ulcers, bacitracin ointment or mupirocin ointment reduces the crusting, as may saline nasal spray.

Doctors can sometimes surgically repair septal perforations using a person’s own tissue from another part of the nose or with an artificial membrane made of a soft, pliable plastic. Most perforations do not need to be repaired unless bleeding or crusting is a major problem.

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