Nasal polyps are soft, painless growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses. Nasal polyps are benign (noncancerous). Small polyps usually require no treatment, however larger polyps can block sinuses from draining properly.
Nasal polyps are likely caused by chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose and sinuses due to asthma, chronic sinusitis (sinus infection), or allergies.
Small nasal polyps usually don’t cause symptoms. Larger polyps or groups of polyps can block the sinuses or nasal passages, leading to breathing problems, a lost sense of smell, and frequent infections.
Medications such as nasal steroid sprays, corticosteroids, and allergy medications can relieve symptoms caused by nasal polyps and help to reduce swelling. When medications aren’t effective or polyps are very large, surgery may necessary.
Endoscopic sinus surgery is often used to treat polyps. With this procedure, the doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a light and instruments at the end. The tube is inserted through the nostrils into the nasal passages to remove the polyps.
You should seek treatment for nasal polyps when they begin to affect your quality of life; they may block airflow and sinus drainage, pressure headaches, and difficulty with your sense of smell.
Your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis based on your symptoms, a physical examination, and an examination of your nose.
Other tests that will help diagnose nasal polyps are:
Your care is customized to your symptoms and findings.
It may include:
If the nasal polyps are too large and obstructive where corticosteroid nasal sprays are ineffective, surgery may be the best option.
Surgical procedures are usually performed endoscopically. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, where you can go home the same day as the surgery.