The Septal Deviation/Sinusitis Link
You could be forgiven for wondering whether the scientific community ever rests on one conclusion for long. The history of science is replete with notations and reversals, of course, and at least one article I have cited before makes some sense of this flip-flop dynamic.
But here is a clear example of how assumptions can guide research, and how that research may disprove those assumptions. Visit the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website today, and you will find this unambiguous statement about the link between septal deviation and sinusitis:
The shape of your nasal cavity could be the cause of chronic sinusitis.
Just last month, however, a team of scientists undertook a study to determine if this commonsense assumption was, in fact, true. Their findings:
By this study, the relationship between concha bullosa in osteomeatal complex and the severity of sinusitis was not cleared. No relationship was found between the severity of sinusitis, osteomeatal involvement and the degree of septal deviation.
Translation: not so fast.
Of course this won’t be the final word on septal deviation; this study examined correlations, which isn’t the same thing as isolating one factor and checking for a causal relationship between a thing that’s altered and a thing that follows. It is also well-known that a deviated septum can cause a host of other health issues, including troubled breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, and secondary effects such as headaches and fatigue.
A septoplasty still remains the best treatment for septal deviation in all circumstances. But hold off on this procedure if you have frequent sinusitis and no other symptoms. Something else just might be to blame.