Board Certifications: American Board of Facial Plastic and
Reconstructive Surgery American Board of Otolaryngology - ABO


All of us experience minor nasal obstruction — feeling “stuffed up” — from time to time. But in some cases nasal obstruction can be more severe. Chronic nasal obstruction can cause breathing problems, and therefore must be treated.

Nasal obstruction can be caused by a variety of factors, one of which is nasal valve collapse. This refers to weakness or narrowness of the nasal valve, the narrowest portion of the nasal airway. Nasal valve collapse may be caused by trauma to the nose, prior rhinoplasty procedures and other factors.

Sometimes nasal valve collapse can be treated by lifting the cheek tissue on the side of the nose that is obstructed. Special nasal strips may also be used. However, in some cases these measures will not suffice, and surgery may be required.

There are different surgical approaches; your nose surgeon will need identify the cause of the nasal valve collapse in order to determine which surgical approach is right for your situation. For example, internal nasal valve collapse may be treated by placing strips of cartilage in the collapsed area, or through reattachment of cartilage to the septum. Alar batten grafts may be used if the collapse is caused by weakness in the nasal sidewall. In some cases the surgeon may choose to combine alar batten grafts with a septoplasty procedure, or with cartilage harvested from the ear or elsewhere. In others, septorhinoplasty with alar batten grafts may be more suitable. Some patients who have had previous rhinoplasty procedures may need revision septorhinoplasty with ear cartilage grafts and batten grafts. Again, it all depends on your particular circumstances.

Speak with your rhinoplasty surgeon for more information on treating nasal obstruction caused by nasal valve collapse.

Written by Dr. Sam Rizk

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