Nasal PolypsWhat are nasal polyps

Nasal polyps are small growths arising from the specialized lining or membrane in the nose and sinuses. They are characterized by inflammation and can occur in the setting of asthma, allergy or infection. Fortunately, sinonasal polyps are usually benign. Small polyps may not cause any symptoms, however, when they become larger they may block the flow of air through the nose and be associated with a loss of the sense of smell. The inflammation associated with the polyps can also cause sneezing or runny nose symptoms. Medical treatment is recommended initially and surgery is reserved for cases that do not respond well to medicine. In some cases, medical or surgical treatment is quite effective. However, in other cases, sinonasal polyps can recur even with comprehensive treatment, necessitating long term management of the underlying inflammation and multispecialty care.

Nasal Polyps

Figure 1a - View of the nasal cavity through a sinus endoscope. A large polyp is evident (p) filling the nasal cavity causing the patient symptoms of restricted nasal breathing.

Nasal Polyps

Figure 1b - Endoscopic view of a normal nasal cavity for comparison. The arrows point to the area occupied by the polyp in Figure 1a. There is much more room for air to pass freely through the nose without the polyp.

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