Septal perforations are a diagnostic challenge because various potential causes are possible. Therefore, elucidating the cause of the septal perforation requires obtaining a thorough history. Although several surgical options are available for the treatment of symptomatic septal perforations (see Septal Perforation: Surgical Aspects), this article focuses on the medical management of septal perforations.
The nasal septal mucoperichondrium provides the blood supply to the septal quadrangular cartilage. Any insult (eg, chemical, physical, iatrogenic) to this normal anatomy can lead to the development of a perforation.
Septal perforations can cause significant morbidity. The symptoms associated with septal perforations include nasal congestion or obstruction, nasal crusting and drainage, recurrent epistaxis, and a whistling sound from the nose. In addition to the symptoms related to nasal septal perforations, manifestations of the disease process that caused the perforation (eg, lupus, Wegener granulomatosis) may also carry significant morbidity.
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