However, two main structures in the nose that are almost always involved are the inferior turbinate and the septum. The septum is the structure that is in between the nostrils and is comprised of bone and cartilage. The septum’s main purpose is primarily structural support to maintain the shape and function of the nose.
Septal deviation is a condition where a portion of the septum—either the cartilage or the bone, deflects to one side of the nose. This deflection causes a physical obstruction and is often just an abnormality of normal development. However, the deviation can also occur because of facial or nasal trauma that fractures the septum. Many people have a deviated septum regardless of the cause.
The other structure that can cause nasal obstruction is the turbinate. These internal structures on each side of the nose are made of bone and a mucosal lining. They assist in warming the air you breathe and keeping it at optimal humidity.
Often a patient will develop a condition where the turbinate get enlarged due to an anomaly of normal growth or from chronic inflammation. When this occurs, it blocks the nasal passage as well and is referred to as turbinate hypertrophy.
While the symptoms that derive from the blockage may all seem similar, the treatment for each condition can vary. Getting a solid diagnosis of the underlying condition is essential to determining proper treatment.