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Nasal septal abscess: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About nasal septal abscess

Nasal septal abscess is a serious pus-forming, bacterial infection within the nasal septum. The nasal septum is a normal tissue that runs through the middle of the nose separating both the nostrils. An abscess is a term used for pus-filled pocket of localized infection.

Nasal septal abscess: Incidence, age and sex

The exact incidence of nasal septal abscess is not known; it is usually seen in individuals with nose trauma. It may affect an individual at any age.

Signs and symptoms of nasal septal abscess: Diagnosis

An individual with nasal septal abscess generally gives a history of trauma or nasal surgery. Presence of an abscess within nasal septum is manifested by increasing nasal blockage, pain and redness over nasal bridge or nasal tip. As the nasal blockage progresses, it leads to difficulty in breathing. Fever, headache and malaise are also seen in an individual with nasal septal abscess.

The condition can be diagnosed on basis of symptoms, physical examination and meticulous inspection of the nasal cavity by a health care provider. Blood test usually reveals an elevated white blood cell count which signifies the presence of bacterial infection. The pus sample (which may be taken during the surgical incision and drainage procedure) may be cultured for establishing the presence of bacterial growth.

Causes and prevention of nasal septal abscess

The most common cause of nasal septal abscess is trauma to the nose which results in bleeding within the nasal septum. The blood then pools within the nasal septum resulting in ‘haematoma’. This haematoma over a period of time gets infected with bacteria eventually resulting in pus collection (abscess). The most common bacteria implicated in such cases are Staphylococcus aureus. Other risk factors for development of nasal septal abscess include blood clotting disorder like haemophilia, chronic sinusitis, dental infections and nasal surgery.

Adequate and timely management of any nasal trauma or chronic nasal infections may help in preventing the development of nasal septal abscess.

Nasal septal abscess: Complications

The complications of nasal septal abscess include permanent damage of the nasal septum resulting in physical deformity of nose.

Nasal septal abscess: Treatment

The main line of treatment for nasal septal abscess includes surgical management which involves incision of abscess and subsequent drainage of the pus. Intravenous antibiotic medication is required before the advent of this minor surgery. The antibiotic medication is then continued orally for an extended period of time, after the pus has been surgically drained. In cases, where the nose has been physically deformed, reconstructive surgical repair may be needed.