The benefits of breathing through your nose cannot be overstated. A blocked nose is uncomfortable, causing dry mouth, poor sleep quality, and sensation of lack of oxygen. Nasal obstruction is a major complaint of many patients that come to see me. Many conditions can contribute to nasal obstruction, including abnormal nasal anatomy, chronic sinusitis, and allergies. Medical therapy generally involves daily use of a nasal steroid spray as well as saline nasal irrigations. When this fails, nasal airway surgery can offer significant improvement in nasal breathing.
Surgical procedures to improve the nasal airway include:
1) Septoplasty - straightening a deviated septum. In certain cases, this can be performed under local anesthesia in the office. In more severe cases, this procedure is performed under general anesthesia in the operating room.
2) Turbinate reduction - turbinates are normal folds of tissue inside the nose that serve the important function of warming and moisturizing the air we breathe. They can, however, become enlarged because of inflammation, medication overuse, hormone changes, or other causes. When enlarged, they block nasal airflow. These structures are reduced using a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed comfortably under local anesthesia. Conservative reduction of tissue is performed so as not to disrupt the normal function of these structures.
3) Nasal valve surgery - the outer walls of the nose can collapse inward and cause obstruction of nasal airflow. Surgery can be performed to strengthen and widen these areas. This surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia in the operating room.