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Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyposis (Nose polyps) occurs when tissue within the nose swells and grows outward, creating mucus-filled sacs. No conclusive cause for nasal polyposis has been established, but they are thought to be caused by allergy or sinus irritation, and can be associated with asthma in adults and cystic fibrosis in children. More recently, an allergy to fungal spores in the air has been identified as a major risk factor for nasal polyps. Symptoms of nasal polyps include constant nasal congestion with runny nose or post nasal drip, decreased sense of smell, headache or cheek pain, and persistent head cold that will not go away.

A doctor can often detect polyps simply by looking in the front of the nose with a headlight. For a more complete examination, the doctor can use a narrow lighted tube with a magnifying lens (nasal endoscope) to look deeper inside the nasal cavity. A CAT scan of the sinuses will show areas that cannot be seen by looking into the nose and can show the extent to which the polyps have spread in the sinuses. Patients may have recurrent sinus infections from obstructive nasal polyps. Large polyps can eventually compress the eyes or push on the brain. Nasal obstruction can cause sleep apnea, a condition that stops your breathing during sleep and can cause serious heart and lung damage.

How are Nasal Polyps Treated?

Nasal or oral steroids can reduce inflammation and may shrink nasal polyps. Oral or nasal antihistamines can decrease symptoms of allergies. Bacterial sinus infections should be treated aggressively with antibiotics. For fungal sinusitis, an antifungal medication may be effective.

If your nasal polyps prove resistant to medications, then they can be removed in an ambulatory sinus surgery procedure (polypectomy). If you are experiencing sinus inflammation, endoscopic sinus surgery can ventilate and provide drainage to the sinuses. You will generally go home about an hour after surgery. You may feel congested following surgery, but your breathing may also be better immediately.



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