What is Nasal Valve Collapse?
Nasal valve collapse is the name of a condition, which refers to weakness or increased narrowing of the nasal valve. The nasal valve is a narrow area in its natural form; further narrowing or any changes in the structure of the nose affecting the nasal valve can cause tremendous difference to the patient, such as increased air resistance and even blocked airflow.
What is a Nasal Valve?
The narrowest part of the nasal airway is known as nasal valve. Several structures form the nasal valve, such as the anterior septum, lateral nasal wall, the osseous pyriform aperture and the head of the inferior turbinate. The nasal valve is situated in the middle to the lower part of the nose. This is the narrowest region of the nasal airway, due to which there is a lot of air flow resistance present in this area and nasal valve works to restrict the airflow.
What Causes Nasal Valve Collapse?
Plastic Surgery: One of the most common causes of nasal valve collapse is plastic surgery of the nose (rhinoplasty). This may also include the "hump removal."
Inflammation: If there is a nose surgery for medical conditions or injury to the nose, then it can lead to inflammation, tissue enlargement and even formation of scar tissue. All this in turn can cause nasal valve collapse.
Deviated Septum: Deviated septum is another common cause of nasal valve collapse. Injury or trauma to the nose can result in deviated septum.
Congenital Problems: Nasal valve collapse can also occur even if the patient has not had any type of surgery to the nose or injury to the nose. Certain inherited anatomical characteristics of the nose can also cause nasal valve collapse. Certain type of congenital conditions can also lead to nasal valve collapse.
Aging: The natural aging process of an individual can also cause nasal valve collapse. This occurs from weakening of the structures which form the nasal valve.
What are the Symptoms of Nasal Valve Collapse?
- Patient has nasal congestion which causes difficulty in breathing through nose.
- There is nasal blockage/obstruction.
- Patient can also experience blood from the nose.
- There may be formation of crust around the nostrils.
How is Nasal Valve Collapse Diagnosed?
An ENT doctor is a doctor who specializes in treatment of medical conditions of ear, nose and throat and he/she should be consulted for diagnosis of a nasal valve collapse. Nasal Valve Collapse is difficult to diagnose as deviated septum or enlarged turbinates can also produce the same symptoms and the conditions can overlap. Patient's medical history is taken and patient is asked whether he has had any previous nasal surgeries. The nose is examined and given below are the following tests, which are done for diagnosis of nasal valve collapse:
Nasal Endoscopy is done to look at the internal structures of the nose.
Cottle's Maneuver is a test where the cheeks of the patient are pulled to widen the nasal valve area. If the patient has an improvement in breathing upon this manual widening then it is an indication of nasal valve collapse.
Bachmann's Maneuver is a test where nasal valve is widened with the help of instruments after which if there is an improvement in the patient's breathing then it means there is nasal valve collapse
Acoustic Rhinometry is a test where sound waves are used look at the changes in the nasal cavity.
Anterior Rhinomanometry is a test for assessing the nasal cavity and to measure nasal airflow.
What is the Treatment of Nasal Valve Collapse?
Surgery is the common treatment for nasal valve collapse. Surgery consisting of rhinoplasty with or without using grafts is the common treatment done for repairing nasal valve collapse. In some patients, implants made of titanium can be used that keep nasal aperture open. There are different types of surgical techniques available which are used depending on the patient's condition and the surgeon's technique.
If the patient does not want to have surgery or wants to postpone surgery, then symptoms can be relieved with the use of a nasal valve dilator. This device manually widens the nasal valve and is commonly worn at night. Over-the-counter nasal valve dilators are also available such as Breathe Right Strips. Silicone nasal valve dilators are also available and should be worn internally.