Have you ever felt like you just can’t breathe through your nose because your nose feels stuffy? Many of us experience this sensation when we have a cold. But for patients experiencing chronic nasal congestion, that feeling doesn’t go away.
When diagnosed with chronic nasal congestion, many patients try lifestyle modifications and medicine. But sometimes the cause is something that can’t be treated with medicine. Here’s a look at when patients should consider surgical treatment for chronic nasal congestion.
Chronic nasal congestion often comes with a subjective definition. It’s the feeling that patients cannot breathe through their noses as well as they should be able to. If it’s lasted more than three months, we may consider this chronic.
There are two causes of chronic nasal congestion: anatomic or inflammatory. Anatomic nasal congestion means the inside of the nose is narrow or blocked. This may be due to trauma, existing from birth, or growths in the nose called polyps. Inflammatory nasal congestion may be caused by allergies or sinusitis.
Anatomic nasal congestion patients may find relief from breathing strips that help hold the nose open from the outside. They also try nasal pillows to stent the nostrils open. Nasal steroid sprays, allergy testing, and allergy medications can treat inflammatory nasal congestion. If the diagnosis is sinusitis, we treat patients with antibiotics, steroids, and sinus rinsing.
When conservative treatments for chronic nasal congestion fail, surgery becomes a possible option. Your ear, nose, and throat doctor will work to ensure that no other problem could be a cause. This would include checking for a mass in the nose and other rare problems.
We can resolve anatomical problems with several different surgeries. This ultimately depends on the cause of the problem. Surgeries include deviated septum surgery, turbinate surgery, nasal valve surgery, or polyp removal surgery. It also may be necessary to use other proven devices or implants for effective long-term care.
Is surgery always the recommended solution for chronic nasal congestion? No, but if you’ve exhausted other treatment methods, there are surgical options to consider.