Nasal obstructions are blockages of the nasal cavity that impede airflow. Most nasal obstructions are temporary, caused by sinus infections, colds, or allergies and can be addressed and managed with medication and non-invasive options, while others might require medical intervention, such as polyps, a deviated septum, or oversized turbinate.
Types of Nasal Obstructions
- Nasal polyps. These benign growths that occur on the mucosal lining of the nasal passages. They are typically small and though noncancerous can still cause obstructions of the sinuses, leading to congestion, breathing problems and sinus infections.
- Foreign objects in the nose. Typically involves toddlers and children. Common objects include candy, food, toy pieces, and rocks.
- Oversized adenoids. Soft tissues masses located behind the nose and roof of the mouth can become infected, which will cause them to enlarge and block airflow through the nose.
- Swelling of the nasal lining due to allergies. The release of histamine is responsible for the telltale symptoms of allergies, including swelling of the nasal lining
Treating Nasal Obstructions
Your ENT doctor will carefully examine your nose using a lighted scope and may use a CT scan or MRI to diagnose your nasal obstruction. The first step in treating nasal obstructions is getting the symptoms under control. Medications or nasal steroid sprays are often helpful in reducing inflammation of the nose and turbinates and providing immediate, short-term relief.
An effective long-term solution may require procedural intervention particularly if the issue involves a deviated septum, turbinates, or nasal polyps. Newer surgical techniques include shrinking the turbinates by using radiofrequency energy or a small tissue-shaving device.
Nasal Obstruction Procedures
There are several surgical procedures available. These include:
- VivAer Nasal Airway Remodeling – VivAer is a non-surgical, in-office nasal airway remodeling procedure that can provide lasting relief to individuals with chronic nasal obstruction.
- Septoplasty — An outpatient surgical procedure to correct defects and deformities of the nasal septum which can cause difficulty breathing, bleeding problems and sinus infections.
- Turbinoplasty — An outpatient surgery, often done in conjunction with a Septoplasty, to reduce the size of enlarged nasal turbinates that are causing nasal obstruction.
- Endoscopic Sinus Surgery — An outpatient procedure using a small telescope inserted in the nose to see and remove polyps and obstructions with a high degree of precision. Minimizes the risk and discomfort of traditional surgery.