Causes And Treatments for Nasal Obstruction
Everyone has experienced minor nasal obstruction, but in more severe cases it can lead to sinus disease or breathing problems so it must be treated. Nasal obstruction has many potential causes, including a deviated septum, enlargement of the nasal turbinates, nasal polyps and nasal valve collapse.
In some cases, nasal obstruction can be treated with non-invasive methods, however, in certain instances, surgery may be necessary. New York expert facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Rizk has years of experience helping patients diagnose the cause of their nasal obstruction and find the best treatment for their specific case.
Nasal Obstruction Causes
Most cases of nasal obstruction are caused by allergies, sinusitis, medication, overuse of nasal sprays and other relatively non-hazardous causes. Nasal obstruction can also be caused by a foreign object or anatomical factors, in which case the obstruction may require surgery. Here are some of the anatomical factors that can cause nasal obstruction:
- A deviated septum is a common cause of nasal obstruction and is usually treated through a surgical procedure called septoplasty. During this procedure, Dr. Rizk makes internal incisions, removes the bone and cartilage causing the obstruction, and straightens the septum.
- Some cases of nasal obstruction result from enlarged nasal turbinates. The turbinates are three structures comprised of soft tissue and bone that line the sides of the nasal cavity. If they swell and enlarge, they can block the nostrils. This is often related to allergies, in which case it may be successfully treated with nasal steroid sprays. However, if this does not work, surgery is required to reduce the turbinates.
- Nasal polyps are another cause of nasal obstruction. This inflammatory tissue can grow in the sinuses and nasal cavity. It frequently occurs in patients with asthma and, like nasal turbinates, in patients with allergies. As such, nasal polyps are usually treated with steroid spray or, if necessary, through endoscopic surgery.
- Another cause of nasal obstruction is the collapse of the nasal valve(s). This typically occurs due to the narrowness or weakness of the nasal valve. Causes include trauma to the nose or even a prior rhinoplasty procedure that may not have gone well. This narrowing or weakness of the nasal valve can sometimes be treated through non-invasive means, such as nasal strips. However, in some cases, a surgical procedure such as rhinoplasty, septoplasty or septorhinoplasty may be needed.
New York Nasal Obstruction Treatment
Nasal obstruction is a common occurrence that happens to everyone. It has numerous potential causes, as anything blocking the flow of air in and out of the nose can cause nasal obstruction. Nasal obstruction can cause breathing problems and sinus disease, so it must be treated. The treatment for nasal obstruction depends on what is causing it.
Normally, nasal obstruction is temporary and not serious. However, if it persists it can cause breathing problems and other serious health problems. New York City facial plastic surgeon and nasal specialist Dr. Rizk will examine you thoroughly to determine the cause of your nasal obstruction before deciding what course of action to take to free your airways and restore proper breathing.
Non-Surgical and Surgical Treatments for Nasal Obstruction
Many cases of nasal obstruction can be treated with allergy medications, anti-inflammatories, nasal irrigation sprays or special nasal strips. However, in chronic or more severe cases, surgery may be required. It is important to work with a highly experienced double board-certified facial plastic surgeon like Dr. Rizk because the cause of your nasal obstruction must be identified before a treatment can be recommended.
Here are some of the situations in which surgery may be necessary to address a nasal obstruction:
- Enlarged nasal turbinates can often be addressed with allergy treatments such as nasal steroid sprays. But if this does not work, surgery may be required to reduce the turbinates.
- Nasal polyps are usually treated with steroid sprays, but if these fail to work, endoscopic surgery may be necessary.
- A deviated septum is usually treated through a surgery called septoplasty, to straighten the septum; internal incisions are made and the bone and/or cartilage causing the obstruction is removed.
- An internal valve collapse is also typically treated with surgery. In this surgery, strips of cartilage may be placed in the collapsed area and/or the cartilage may be reattached to the septum. Grafts, called alar batten grafts, may be used if the collapse was caused by weakness in the nasal sidewall; alar batten grafts are often combined with septoplasty or a separate procedure called septorhinoplasty.
When to Consider Surgery for Nasal Obstruction
It is perfectly normal to experience a nasal obstruction. However, chronic nasal obstruction is not normal and can lead to symptoms such as chronic sore throat, post-nasal drip, plugged ears, hoarseness, and vocal changes. Nasal obstruction can also lead to snoring, which in turn can cause sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition. If non-surgical methods do not suffice to correct a nasal obstruction, your doctor may refer you to a facial plastic surgeon specializing in nose surgery to determine if you need surgery to get you breathing properly again.
Written by Dr. Sam Rizk
Last Modified On: 12/30/2019