One of the most common and troubling complaints that patients have when they visit their Otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) is nasal airway obstruction-the stuffy nose. There are many causes of nasal stuffiness, including: deviated nasal septum, sinusitis, turbinate hypertrophy, allergies, and nasal polyposis.
Some patients do not suffer from any of the above problems, but still complain of a stuffy nose. At a glance, physical examination of the nose may be totally normal. However, with careful inspection, your Otolaryngologist may observe collapse of the nose during inspiration (breathing in).
Collapse usually occurs in an important area referred to as the nasal valve. A simple test at home to see if you have nasal valve collapse is to apply a commercially available nasal strip (Breathe-right) and see if it improves nasal airflow. If so, you may very well have nasal valve collapse.
There are multiple surgical techniques for stabilizing the nasal valve. Although nasal valve collapse may be the only problem, patients often have more than one reason for their stuffy nose. Some of the other reasons are listed above. Therefore, it is very important to have the proper diagnosis before scheduling surgery so that an optimal result can be achieved. Repair of nasal valve collapse may be done in conjunction with other surgery such as septoplasty, turbinate reduction, or endoscopic sinus surgery.
Ask your Otolaryngologist if one of your problems is a nasal valve collapse.