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In a review of 1000 consecutive neonates of all races, nasal septal deformity was identified in 29, an incident of 2.9%; significantly fewer cases were found in negroid babies (0.1 greater than P greater than 0.05). Ten cases (35%) underwent manipulation of the deviated septum. Six-monthly review revealed that symptoms associated with the septal deformity are rare. In 7 (44%) of the 16 cases not manipulated, the septum straightened spontaneously during the first few months of life. The appearance of the deviation is not of a dislocation of the caudal edge of the cartilage but a smooth concavity. In vitro compression of the neonatal nasal cavity reproduced this C-shaped deformity, but only temporarily. Histological serial sections of 6 postmortem nasal cavities showed that the high laminae of the vomer prevent any caudal dislocation of the septal cartilage.