The nasal valve is the narrowest part of the nasal airway, located in the middle to lower portion of the nose. Physiologically, because this is the narrowest part of the nasal airway, there is a great deal of air flow resistance that occurs in this area and the nasal valve actually works to limit airflow.
Nasal valve collapse is a term that refers to any weakness or further narrowing of the nasal valve. Since the nasal valve is such a narrow area, any alteration in the structure of the nose that affects this area can result in increased resistance or even block airflow.
Causes of Nasal Valve Collapse
Plastic surgery to the nose, or rhinoplasty, is the most common cause of nasal valve collapse. Also, a nasal valve collapse can occur after trauma to the nose or nose surgery as the result of inflammation, enlarged tissue or even scar tissue.
In some instances, nasal valve collapse can be the result of inherited anatomical characteristics such as an over-projecting nose or narrow nostrils.
Symptoms of Nasal Valve Collapse
Difficulty breathing through the nose
Diagnosis of Nasal Valve Collapse
An otolaryngologist is best qualified to diagnose nasal valve collapse because other medical conditions and symptoms can also present with these symptoms. Examination of the nose including a nasal endoscopy may be helpful in the diagnosis.
Treatment for Nasal Valve Collapse
Surgery is the most common treatment for a nasal valve collapse. However, some patients find relief of symptoms by using a nasal valve dilator, a device that widens the nasal valve. It is usually worn at night.
What You Should Expect
You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have a nasal value collapse and determine what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced otolaryngologist are important to the successful outcome for patients with ear, nose and throat disorders and conditions.
The day of surgery, you will be taken care of in the operating room by otolaryngologist, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in surgery for patients with a nasal value collapse. After surgery, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by experienced surgical and nursing staff.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care by collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating ear, nose and throat disorders and conditions. In addition, patients have full access to BWH’s world-renowned academic medical community, with its diverse specialists, and state-of-the-art facilities.
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Appointments and Locations