Nasal polyps are teardrop-shaped growths that can develop in the lining of your nose, usually found where the sinuses open into the nasal cavity. They’re non-cancerous and often result from ongoing swelling and irritation caused by chronic sinusitis. If they’re small in size, you may not even know that you have polyps. The larger they are, however, the more likely they are to cause issues, including things like nasal obstruction, trouble breathing through the nose, snoring, and severe sinus headaches and pressure.
If these issues arise, it may be necessary to have your nasal polyps removed. Top Houston ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor Dr. Cecil Yeung is a specialist in this field, having performed more than 4,000 sinus surgeries with exceptional results. In this blog, Dr. Yeung will answer some common questions regarding nasal polyps and nasal polyp removal surgery.
What causes nasal polyps to develop?
In most cases, nasal polyps form as a result of prolonged irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the sinuses. It’s not fully understood why some people get polyps and others do not, but one predisposing factor may be your genetics. You may also be more likely to get nasal polyps if you have any of the following conditions:
- Chronic sinusitis
- Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
- Sensitivity to certain drugs, including aspirin
- Cystic fibrosis
- Certain immune disorders
- Churg-Strauss Syndrome (a very rare disease that causes inflamed blood vessels)
What symptoms can polyps in the nose cause?
The size of nasal polyps can vary. Small ones often cause no problems at all, but the larger they are, the more likely it is that they will cause issues such as:
- Nasal obstruction
- Breathing problems
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Reduced sense of smell or taste
- Headaches and facial pain
- Sleep apnea
- Broadening of the nasal bridge (with particularly large polyps)
What are my nasal polyp treatment options?
The first step to determining the appropriate nasal polyps treatment is to be evaluated by an experienced sinus surgeon. Dr. Yeung will examine you and may recommend that you have a CT scan of your sinuses taken (a service we offer in-office). This will allow Dr. Yeung to determine if there are any structural abnormalities (such as a deviated septum) or another condition (such as chronic sinusitis) that’s causing your nasal polyps.
Conservative treatment options are always tried first and may include the following:
- Nasal steroid sprays – used to shrink polyps, help clear blocked nasal passages and temporarily alleviate runny nose symptoms
- Antihistamines – used to help reduce symptoms like runny nose while decreasing inflammation, particularly if inflammation is caused by allergies
- Antibiotics – used to help treat polyps caused by a bacterial sinus infection
- Oral steroid pills – used to reduce swelling and other symptoms, but they shouldn’t be taken long-term because of possible side effects
What does nasal polyp removal surgery involve?
In cases where conservative treatments don’t provide effective relief, nasal polyps removal surgery may be considered. This type of surgery is known as a polypectomy and is often performed using an endoscope – a tube with a tiny camera that gives your doctor a detailed view inside your nose and sinuses. During this procedure, the polyps and any other problematic tissue can be precisely removed. Special instruments are passed through your nostrils to perform the corrections, so no incisions will need to be made to your face.
Nasal polyps removal may be done along with another type of surgery if other sinus or nasal-related issues are contributing to your condition. These include the following:
- Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS): This surgery enlarges the drainage pathways of your sinuses and fixes any other issues interfering with drainage, thus preventing a future build-up of mucus. Learn more >
- Balloon Sinuplasty: A tiny balloon catheter is inserted through your nostril and inflated in your sinus passageway. The passageway is gently opened and widened to restore normal sinus drainage and function, and the balloon is then deflated and carefully removed. Learn more >
How successful are surgical options?
In many cases, nasal polyps removal can be very successful and lead to a great reduction in symptoms. However, if your nasal polyps are caused by a genetic or allergic issue, the polyps may re-emerge and require repeat treatments. Under these circumstances, nasal polyp surgery can provide relief, but it may not be permanent without additional treatment in the future.
How can I find relief from nasal polyps in Houston?
Dr. Yeung pioneered endoscopic sinus surgery in Houston and has over 20 years of experience with treating patients suffering from nasal polyps. He has performed thousands of sinus surgeries involving nasal polyps removal with exceptional results.
Take the first step toward finding relief from nasal polyps by filling out the appointment request form right on this page or by contacting our office today at 713-795-4885.