What is Nasal Valve Collapse, and How is it Treated?

Nasal valve collapse can significantly impact your quality of life, making it difficult to take in enough air with each breath through the nose, and it can result in snoring at night. Any difficulties breathing inward, especially after nasal surgery or injury to the nose, should be checked for possible nasal valve collapse. Read on for more information on this condition and learn about available treatment options.

What is nasal valve collapse, and what can cause it?

The nasal valves are your nasal passageways through which air enters your nose. The nasal valves already provide some resistance to airflow, but when their structure is compromised, they can collapse inwards and cause difficulties breathing.

Nasal valve collapse can occur after the valves become weakened. This can happen any time the structure of the nose is altered in any way, including after nasal surgery (rhinoplasty) or after an injury to the nose. This condition can also occur in those who have a deviated septum or other structural abnormalities of the nose. Finally, with aging, the muscles in the nose lose strength, which can also cause nasal valve collapse. 

How is it diagnosed?

It’s important to see an ENT who is well-versed in diagnosing and treating nasal valve collapse. This condition has many symptoms that overlap with other common conditions that cause breathing issues. Your doctor will examine you and ask detailed questions about your history of symptoms to determine their cause.

If a diagnosis of nasal valve collapse is made, your options include:

Medication: Medication can temporarily alleviate symptoms until a more permanent solution is decided upon. Medication and other strategies may be recommended in more mild cases where the quality of life is not affected as much.

Lifestyle modifications: In mild cases, lifestyle modifications (along with medication, if needed) can sometimes help. Avoiding activities that trigger breathing issues can help. Also, if you suffer from environmental allergies, managing those allergies can help manage the symptoms of nasal valve collapse. Avoid allergens, invest in an air purifier for your home, and take allergy medication as needed.  

Dilators: These are physical devices that can be worn to hold the nasal valves open. Both internal and external options exist. Because even the internal ones show during use, these are often just used at night to help prevent or reduce snoring. 

Latera: This is a minimally invasive option that can provide relief without the need to undergo surgery. An absorbable, biocompatible implant is implanted into the nose to hold open the affected nasal passageway(s). 

Surgery: For many, the optimal solution is surgery. Doctors can perform a cartilage graft to help strengthen the nasal passageways and keep them open. In this type of procedure, your doctor will take cartilage from another area of your body and graft it inside the nasal passages, helping to strengthen the area and prevent collapse. 

Looking for relief from your nasal valve collapse? Dr. Edmund Fisher is both a board-certified ENT and a facial plastic surgeon, making him uniquely qualified for diagnosing and treating this tricky condition. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and determine which solution is right for you.

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