Everyone experiences nasal congestion throughout their lives. For most people, the congestion is a temporary symptom of allergies or a cold. For others, sinus blockage and congestion are persistent. What causes this lasting congestion? For some people, the source is nasal polyps.
A new sinus implant called SINUVA may be an effective, nonsurgical treatment option if a patient’s polyps return after ethmoid sinus surgery.
What Are Nasal Polyps?
Nasal polyps are soft, painless, benign growths inside the nasal passages. When polyps are small, a person may not know that they’re there. However, polyps that grow in clusters can block the nasal passages and inhibit sinus drainage.
Some common symptoms of nasal polyps are:
- Breathing problems
- Recurring infections
- Reductions in the senses of smell and taste
- Sinus pressure
- Pain in upper teeth or face
- Sinus pressure
Since nasal polyps obstruct normal airflow and sinus fluid drainage, they can cause secondary issues. Some patients may experience obstructive sleep apnea, asthma flare-ups, and sinus infections as a result of their nasal polyps.
Causes of Nasal Polyps
Nasal polyps can develop in people of all ages, but they are most common in young adults and adults in their middle ages. Patients with prolonged inflammation from allergies, infections, or chronic sinusitis have an increased risk of developing obstructive nasal polyps.
Swelling that lasts 12 weeks or more is generally considered chronic. If you are experiencing prolonged congestion, schedule an appointment with Excel ENT. Dr. Davis may perform a nasal endoscopy to see if polyps are causing your breathing issues.
Unfortunately, polyps are a chronic problem. It’s likely that once they occur, they will persist throughout a patient’s life.
The goal of nasal polyp treatment is to reduce the size of the polyps to improve a patient’s breathing and sinus drainage. Usually, treatment begins with a nasal steroid spray to reduce the polyp inflammation. Your doctor may also suggest nasal rinses. Nasal sprays are only a temporary treatment, and patients who discontinue the spray will notice their symptoms return.
If nasal sprays do not provide you with adequate relief, your physician may consider surgical removal of the polyps. During surgery, your doctor will remove the infected tissue and bone in the ethmoid sinuses that are blocking your normal sinus drainage.
Surgery works in conjunction with nasal sprays. Once the polyps are reduced and the ethmoid cavity is open, the medication delivery is much more effective. Consistent use of nasal spray following surgery may help reduce sinus inflammation enough to keep polyps manageable.
Even with surgery, a patient’s polyps may return. Some patients may need or want a better treatment option than daily nasal spray or a second round of nasal surgery.
SINUVA is a new, innovative sinus polyp treatment for patients who have already undergone ethmoid sinus surgery. SINUVA is a 20-millimeter-long sinus implant made of bioabsorbable polymers. It delivers an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid, mometasone furoate, right into the polyps. The medicine shrinks the polyps, opening a patient’s airway and allowing better sinus drainage.
A physician places the SINUVA implant during an office visit. Most patients report that they cannot feel the implant once it’s in place. After 90 days (or fewer at your doctor’s discretion), your physician will remove the implant.
Since the SINUVA implant is a bioabsorbable polymer, it softens over time. It’s possible for patients to accidentally expel the implant near the end of treatment with a sneeze or if they blow their nose forcefully.
Preventing Polyps After Treatment
Polyps are a chronic problem, but there are several things that patients can do to manage the inflammation that contributes to polyp growth.
- Manage seasonal allergies
- Avoid nasal irritants such as tobacco, allergens, and fine debris
- Humidify their home to help mucus flow and drain from sinuses
- Use nasal rinses to improve mucus movement and clean out allergens
If you’re suffering from chronic congestion and breathing issues, schedule an appointment with ExcelENT. Dr. Davis is a sinus expert, and together, you can determine which treatment is right for you. It is possible to manage your nasal polyps.
Do you have persistent congestion? Contact the team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment for a medical evaluation to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your congestion.