What are nasal polyps?
Nasal Polyps has been recognized for more than 300 years and it is the most common growths inside the nose. They originate from the sinuses at the side of the nose. Initially they are small and do not cause any problems (nasal polyp9). Over time, however, they slowly increase in size till it affects breathing and the patient becomes aware (nasal polyp1). The polyps will also block the sinuses giving rise to sinus infection and nasal discharge. The sense of smell is also affected, as air could not reach the smell organs. As the polyp is attached on a stalk to the side of the nose, some patients will feel something moving inside the nose.
Polyps are generally found quite far back in the nose, they may not be obvious on casual examination from the front of the nose. Endoscopy may be required to make the correct diagnosis. They will only be obvious when looking into the nose if they become very large.
What are the possible causes of nasal polyps?
The exact cause of nasal polyps is unclear. Possible causes include allergy, infection, aspirin allergies and cystic fibrosis.
Are there any dangerous nasal polyps?
If the polyp is only present in one nostril, there is a possibility that this is not a simple polyp. A biopsy would be needed to exclude a tumor. If the polyps are bilateral, they are most likely to be benign.
What are the possible treatments for nasal polyps?
Steroid nasal spray can be used to try to shrink the polyps. Should the medication not be effective, surgery would be an option. Prior to the surgery, a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan of the sinuses will be required to determine the extent of the disease. Surgery is usually done through the nose with the help of endoscopes and special equipment. The operation can also be performed in conjunction with the latest technique of balloon sinuplasty allowing less tissue to be removed.
Can the polyps recur after surgery?
A proportion of the patients can have recurrence after the surgery. The time to the recurrence is very varied. In some it may return in a year while in others it may be 10 to 20 years later. As there is a suggested link between nasal polyps and food allergy, food allergy testing is recommended during the initial treatment. Avoiding the incriminating food will help in the reduction of symptoms and recurrence.
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