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   March 23rd, 2012

Nasal Valve Collapse

Nasal Valve Collapse is a relatively common cause of nasal obstruction.Although a deviated septum and enlarged turbinates are the most common causes of obstructed nasal breathing, nasal valve collapse can often contribute to blockage as well. The nasal valve is the narrow area of the tip of the nose composed of the tip cartilages and the septum. This is a small area and even a minor blockage can cause a big problem with breathing. Causes of collapse include nasal trauma, prior nasal surgery(especially rhinoplasty ), and congenitally weak nasal cartilages.

Diagnosis can be made in the office or at home. Your physician can easily make the diagnosis during your visit, but often patients can diagnose this problem at home. You may have nasal valve collapse if:
a) your breathing is improved when the cheek skin is pushed towards the ear,or
b) your breathing is improved with Breathe-Right(or similar) strips

Treatment is both non-surgical and surgical. Non-surgical treatment involves use of allergy medicines(such as antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays) as well as breathe- right strips. Surgical treatment includes reconstructing the tip cartilages to improve their tensile strength, often with straightening of the septum. This is performed through a small incision at the base of the nose, and frequently septal and/or ear cartilage is used in the reconstruction.

In summary , nasal valve collapse is a relatively common cause of nasal obstruction. There are both non-surgical and surgical treatments for this problem.

Article posted by David A. Clark, MD, FACS