Weakening or loss of cartilage within the septum of the nose may lead to a condition commonly referred to as saddle nose. The term saddle nose refers to the saddle-shaped depression produced in the midsection of the nose. In some cases, saddle nose is not especially pronounced and is only noticeable when looking at the patient's profile. However, in more extreme cases, the depression may cause the tip of the nose to turn upward, which can create a blockage of nasal passages as well as shorten the nose.
Causes of Saddle Nose
The erosion and perforation of the nose resulting in saddle nose may be caused by trauma to the nose or a complication during nasal surgery. Habitual use of cocaine or inhaling other drugs may cause damage to the nasal septum and cartilage and cause saddle nose. In some cases, saddle nose develops from chronic nasal inflammation caused by a disorder called Wegener's Granulomatosis. It may also be caused by an inherited or genetic disorder such as:
- Congenital syphilis
- Relapsing polychondritis
- Down syndrome
Treatment of Saddle Nose
In cases where saddle nose is not causing any functional problems of the nose, treatment may not be necessary. When saddle nose causes difficulty breathing, and decreased nasal function, surgery may be performed. Some people also choose saddle nose repair surgery for cosmetic reasons. Surgery for saddle nose may include:
Septal Perforation Repair Surgery
If the saddle nose also includes septal perforation, septal perforation repair surgery may be performed. The doctor may take a tissue graft from the inside of the nose or from another part of the body to fill in the septal hole. A tissue flap may also be created to repair the perforation. Larger perforations may be difficult to close. In such cases a septal perforation may be repaired with a piece of silicone plastic, sometimes referred to as a button, which is snapped together to cover the two sides of the opening.
Cartilage or bone may be taken from another part of the body such as the rib or ear, and added to the nose to improve the contour of various parts of the tip or bridge of the nose. In this procedure, the skin may be lifted, the bone and cartilage sculpted, and the skin replaced and stitched closed.
In place of surgery, some doctors can correct deformities or fill gaps or grooves within the nose with injections of medical liquid silicone.
Based on the individual's needs and condition, a doctor will create a customized plan to treat saddle nose.