Is it worth having surgery done on nasal polyps?
What are they?
Polyps are benign formations that develop in the nasal cavity and possibly in the cavities around it (maxillary sinuses, frontal sinus, ethmoids etc.)
Why do they appear?
The cause of polyps is even today still unclear. Yet it has been observed that some conditions do correlate with its appearance. So as it seems 1/3 of the people who have polyps also have asthma. Furthermore, 50% of the people with an allergy and intolerance to aspirin are likely to develop polyps. In the past, it was believed that nasal allergies were to blame for polyps, but this does not seem to be particularly true. It is certain, however, that many sufferers have a history of chronic rhinitis, and in many cases the nose is especially sensitive to factors such as sudden changes in temperature, dust and atmospheric pollution.
What symptoms might a person with polyps have?
Symptoms of polyps are usually a stuffy nose, difficulty breathing, watery or thicker discharge, a weakened sense of smell and headache.
How is it diagnosed?
The examination now in use for diagnosing polyps is endoscopy. In his/her private practice, the otolaryngologist can examine the nose by use of a tiny camera to see if there are polyps or anything else that could be causing your particular symptoms. In the case that polyps are evident, you will usually have to have a CT scan so your doctor can also see the cavities around the nose, in addition to any other details that may be helpful, in case some surgery is necessary.
Nasal endoscopy.The polyp is yellowish
What is the therapy?
The therapy of nasal polyps is above all maintenance. Your doctor will give you some medicinal treatment including topical sprays and oral medication, which are mainly cortisone based, to take for a period of time. Further treatment will be structured according to how the polyps respond to this therapy. If their size is reduced or they have almost disappeared, you will visit your doctor regularly for monitoring and adjustment to the therapy.
If, despite the medicinal treatment the condition remains the same, then you will have to proceed to surgical therapy. The removal of nasal polyps these days is performed under endoscope monitoring (Endoscopic Microsurgery). The aims of this surgery are to
- remove the polyps and clean out the nose and the surrounding cavities, so as to relieve the symptoms that lead you to the doctor, and
- ventilate the regions around the nose that trigger polyps. It has been proven that good ventilation of these regions does not only significantly extend the time before a possible reappearance, but most importantly, leaves the patient without any annoying symptoms for a long period of time.