If nasal polyps are causing frustrating symptoms that are impacting your quality of life, the first step to finding relief is seeing a Houston ENT who can make a proper diagnosis and determine the best treatment. With over 20 years of experience as an ear, nose, and throat doctor in Houston, Dr. Yeung specializes in helping patients that need nasal polyp removal treatments and nasal polyp removal surgery (polypectomy). Start breathing better and living better by scheduling an appointment at Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute today.
What are nasal polyps?
Nose polyps are teardrop-shaped growths that can develop on the lining of the nasal passages or sinuses. They are soft, painless and non-cancerous. Most of the time, nasal polyps do not require any treatment, however if they are larger in size, they can block the sinus openings and interfere with normal sinus drainage.
What causes nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps typically develop as a result of chronic inflammation of the mucous membranes within the nose and sinuses. This chronic inflammation can be caused by various factors, including chronic infections (e.g. chronic sinusitis), allergies, drug sensitivity, or immune disorders.
What are the symptoms of nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps can cause symptoms and related conditions that may include:
- Nasal obstruction
- Breathing problems
- Nasal congestion
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Chronic sinus infections (chronic sinusitis)
- Runny nose
- Sinus headaches
- Sleep apnea
- Frequent sneezing
If left untreated, extensive nasal polyps can eventually expand the nasal bones causing an external deformity of the nose.
How are nasal polyps treated?
If nasal polyps are small and causing no symptoms, treatment is usually not necessary. However, larger nasal polyps are more likely to create other issues within the nose and sinuses that warrant proper evaluation and treatment from an experienced Houston otolaryngologist (ENT doctor). At Houston Sinus Surgery at the Yeung Institute, patients have access to a wide range of treatment options for nasal polyps, including prescription medications and surgical procedures, when necessary.
Conservative treatments that reduce inflammation and shrink nasal polyps are typically the first line of defense. Medications that may be recommended as part of your nasal polyps treatment include:
- Nasal corticosteroids: A corticosteroid nasal spray is intended to reduce inflammation. This prescription drug may shrink the polyps and reduce nasal polyp symptoms. Some nasal corticosteroids include Flonase® and Nasonex®, but there are many other options too.
- Oral and injectable corticosteroids: Dr. Yeung may prescribe something that works through your entire body, rather than just your nose. A oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, can be prescribed either alone or in combination with a nasal spray. Oral corticosteroids can cause bad side effects so they are typically only taken for a short period of time. Corticosteroids may be administered through a shot (by injection) or taken orally as a pill.
- Other medications: Chronic inflammation in your sinuses or nasal passages that leads to nasal polyps may warrant other prescription medications. Depending on your needs, Dr. Yeung may prescribe antibiotics for chronic sinusitis or antihistamines for allergies.
In some cases, conservative treatments may not be effective at treating nasal polyps. When this occurs, Dr. Yeung may recommend a nasal polyps surgery (polypectomy) to remove the polyps and deliver long-lasting symptom relief. Nasal polyps can be treated with a new, minimally invasive surgery called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS). This surgery allows for greater precision, careful removal of polyps and faster recovery times for patients. The removal of nasal polyps through FESS is a specific type of procedure called a polypectomy.
Since nasal polyps often occur in patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis, Dr. Yeung will evaluate whether any other structural abnormalities within your nose could be leading to chronic infections. If your sinus openings are narrow and easily obstructed, enlarging your sinus openings may also be recommended to ensure better results – either with FESS or a procedure called Balloon Sinuplasty.
Patients who are good candidates for nasal polyp surgery typically meet qualifications including:
- Have persistent symptoms not improved with conservative treatments
- Have reactive asthma
- Have orbital and cranial complications
- Suffer from recurrent or chronic sinusitis
- Have a deviated septum
- Suffer from sleep apnea
Nasal polyp surgery at the Houston Sinus Surgery is designed to provide exceptional results for our patients, with benefits including: improved breathing function, decreased frequency/severity of sinus infections, decreased allergies, increased sense of smell, and more restful sleep.
It is important to note that for some patients, nasal polyps may be caused by an underlying condition or genetic disease that means polyps may reemerge. In other words, some causes of nasal polyps may make it necessary to undergo nasal polyps treatment again in the future.