What Are Nasal (Nose) Polyps

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At Treasure Valley Nasal and Sinus Center located in Meridian, Idaho, among other common ear, nose, and throat (ENT) diseases, we diagnose and treat nasal polyps, sometimes called sinonasal polyps. Nasal polyps are pale, fleshy, watery growths that arise from the lining of the nasal and sinus cavities.  They are more common in patients with allergies, asthma, and chronic sinusitis. Nasal polyps are usually benign or non-cancerous.

Polyps in the nose are usually caused by frequent or chronic inflammation of the nasal passage and may cause symptoms of nasal/sinus congestion and pressure. Other symptoms of nasal polyps can include difficulty breathing through the nose, frequent sinus infections from blockage of the sinus drainage pathways, reduced or lost sense of smell, sleep apnea, snoring, facial pain and headaches.

Sinusitis refers to the general inflammation of the nose and sinuses, so patients may have sinusitis with or without nasal polyps. As nasal allergies are also a common source of inflammation in the nasal passage, they can contribute to the development of sinusitis with and without nasal polyps.

Treating Nasal Polyps with and Without Surgery

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While Dr. Peter Killian is a fellowship trained sinus surgeon, and while it seems instinctive to surgically remove growths that are causing problems in our bodies, surgery is not always the first or only recommended treatment for nasal polyps. Medical, or non-surgical, techniques include:
  • Antibiotics. If your nasal and sinus inflammation is caused by frequent bacterial sinus infections, treating the infection may improve the inflammation making smaller polyps asymptomatic.
  • Antihistamines. Both oral and topical antihistamines can be very useful in the treatment of nasal allergies with or without polyps. If your nasal and sinus inflammation is caused by allergies, reducing your body’s excessive allergic response can also reduce nasal polyp symptoms and severity. As an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, Dr. Killian may diagnose this condition and make recommendations regarding treatment for the nasal polyps and allergies. Sometimes this may lead to a coordinated approach with a separate specialist, such as an allergist.
  • Oral or Nasal Steroids. Whether applied using a spray directly in the nose, utilized as part of a nasal rinse, or taken orally, steroids are another option to reduce chronic inflammation in the nose and sinuses. Typically topical application is preferred to avoid long-term side effects from oral or systemic steroids.

If nasal polyps grow too large or inhibit proper breathing, it may be necessary to remove them with surgery. Nasal polyp surgery, also called a nasal polypectomy, requires either local or general anesthesia, depending on where the polyps are located, how large they are, and if there are other conditions being treated at the same time. For example, sometimes polyps are removed while performing an endoscopic sinus surgery and/or septoplasty for a deviated septum (also called septoplasty).

Because of modern surgical tools, endoscopic techniques, and image guided surgery, nasal polyp removal surgery is minimally invasive. One type of surgery to remove polyps is a form of functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) performed by a Rhinologist/ENT surgeon. This means the sinus surgeon uses a small endoscopic camera to visualize the nasal cavity and sinuses through the nostrils. No external incisions on the face are required, reducing post-operative pain and recovery time. Once the polyps are removed, many patients report immediate improvement with clearer breathing, fewer infections, improved sense of smell, and less headaches.

Another surgical technique to manage smaller polyps in the office is the polypvac, a small suction driven microdebrider that removes polyps by cutting away small portions that are suctioned away in a precise and controlled manner. Other polyps can be removed in the office using small endoscopic instruments that allow the attachments to be gently cut away and removed. Larger or more pervasive polyps may need to be removed in the operating room.

Nasal polyps are only one of the many ENT conditions treated at the Treasure Valley Nasal and Sinus Center. Whether your nasal polyps are part of a chronic sinus condition or a problem you thought could be nasal polyps but turns out to be something else entirely, Dr. Peter Killian leads this ENT clinic with a patient-centered approach to help you get to the root of your symptoms.

SINUVA is a a non-surgical treatment to shrink nasal polyps.

The SINUVA implant works by releasing steroidal anti-inflammatory medication into the sinus cavities over the course of 90 days. SINUVA has the added advantage of opening the sinus cavities for improved breathing. The action of the steroidal medication along with the widening effect of the implant reduces congestion while the medication shrinks nasal polyps – without surgery.
Learn more about SINUVA

This means we are here to listen and respond, carefully and effectively, to your concerns. Our goal is to work with you to bring nasal and sinus congestion relief and help you feel better as soon as possible.

If you’d like to learn more about the services we provide to the Boise, Meridian, Eagle area at Treasure Valley Nasal and Sinus Center, see our Rhinology Services page. If you’re ready to schedule an appointment or have additional questions, call (208) 593-4484 or contact us today.
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