woman with loss of smell

Have You Lost Your Sense of Smell?

Can my sense of smell be restored with a rhinoplasty procedure?

Once COVID-19 dropped into our lives, any issues with our sense of smell set off major alarm bells. Losing the ability to smell, or taste, is one of the more common symptoms and is, in fact, often the first clue that someone might have been infected with the virus.  

Fortunately, current statistics indicate that most people recover their ability to smell within roughly four weeks following their bout with COVID. 

There are a variety of other causes for the loss of one’s sense of smell. Some are temporary but others can be permanent. 

When we have a cold or our allergies are acting up, our ability to smell can be affected but not necessarily lost completely. The term for total loss of the sense of smell is anosmia, which can also be temporary or permanent, often based on the cause.

Causes for Loss of Sense of Smell

Some of the most common conditions that can result in the loss of the ability to smell include:

  • Having a cold or the flu
  • Allergies, especially hay fever
  • Sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Any type of nasal congestion
  • Nasal polyps
  • Structural issues, particularly a deviated septum

 In addition to these conditions, smell dysfunction has also been linked to these risk factors:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Kallmann’s syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s diseas
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Brain tumors
  • Antibiotics, antihistamines, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and other medications
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

For most cases of loss of smell, recovery from the underlying condition or making a lifestyle change can restore the sense of smell. There are a variety of remedies for more chronic conditions, such as antibiotics, allergy shots, saline nasal irrigation, and nasal corticosteroids. In the case of a deviated septum, your healthcare professional may determine that your best option is surgery.  

Rhinoplasty for Correction of a Deviated Septum

The nasal septum is the thin wall that divides the nasal passages into what should be equal chambers. When someone is born with this wall off-center (deviated) or some sort of trauma has caused it to be displaced, making one side smaller than the other, the result is referred to as a deviated septum.

Surgery for a deviated septum is a type of rhinoplasty procedure called a septoplasty. It is typically performed to allow the patient to be able to breathe properly, which, in turn, usually has the added benefit of restoring the sense of smell. 

During the septoplasty, which is generally performed on an outpatient basis, the nasal septum is straightened and repositioned, reducing or eliminating any blockages. After recovery is complete and any swelling associated with the procedure is gone, the patient can have a good expectation of having their sense of smell restored. 

Too often, we do not appreciate important parts of our lives until something happens to them. Our sense of smell is a prime example. When it’s taken away, we quickly realize how much it adds to our daily lives. There was a time when a loss of a sense, like the ability to smell, was considered something the individual simply had to live with. Today, thanks to highly skilled and experienced surgeons, like Dr. Brian D. Cohen, that is no longer the case. 

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast, and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers in Super Doctors and Top Doctor for 9 years in a row in 2021 gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty. Information on locations and office hours for Cohen Plastic Surgery can be found by clicking here.