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A nasal polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue in the lining of the nose, which resembles tiny grapes or tears stuck to the inside of the nose. Although some may develop at the beginning of the nose and be visible, most grow in the inner canals or sinuses, not being observable, but which can lead to the appearance of symptoms such as a constant runny nose, a feeling of a blocked nose or a persistent headache, for example. example.
While some polyps may not cause any signs and be identified by chance during a routine nose exam, others cause various symptoms and may need to be removed through surgery.
Therefore, whenever there is a suspicion of nasal polyp, it is advisable to consult an otorhinolaryngologist to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment to relieve symptoms.
One of the most characteristic symptoms of nasal polyp is the appearance of a chronic sinusitis that takes more than 12 weeks to disappear, however, other symptoms can include:
- Constant coryza;
- Sensation of stuffy nose;
- Decreased ability to smell and taste;
- Frequent headache;
- Heaviness in the face;
- Snoring while sleeping.
There are also several cases in which nasal polyps are very small and, therefore, do not cause any type of change, causing no symptoms. In these cases, polyps are usually identified during routine nose or airway examinations.
Learn about 4 other possible causes for a constant runny nose.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The otolaryngologist may suggest the existence of a nasal polyp only through the symptoms reported by the person, however, the best way to confirm the diagnosis is to perform tests such as nasal endoscopy or a CT scan.
Before that, and if the person has chronic sinusitis, the doctor may order an allergy test first, as it is easier to do and helps rule out one of the most common causes. See how the allergy test is done.
Can a nasal polyp turn into cancer?
Nasal polyps are always benign tissue growths without cancer cells and therefore cannot become cancer. However, this does not mean that a person cannot develop cancer of the respiratory system, especially if he is a smoker.
Polyps are more common in people who have respiratory problems that cause constant irritation of the nasal mucosa. So, some causes that increase the risk of having a polyp include:
- Allergic rhinitis;
- Cystic Fibrosis.
However, there are also several cases in which polyps appear without any kind of history of alterations in the respiratory system, which may even be related to a hereditary tendency.
How the treatment is done
Treatment for nasal polyp is usually done to try to relieve symptoms caused by constant sinusitis. Thus, the doctor may recommend the use of nasal corticosteroid sprays, such as Fluticasone or Budesonide, for example, which should be applied 1 to 2 times a day to reduce irritation of the lining of the nose. Learn more about possible ways to treat sinusitis.
However, in cases where there is no improvement in symptoms, even after a few weeks of treatment, the otolaryngologist may advise performing surgery to remove the polyps.
How the surgery is performed
Surgery to remove nasal polyps is usually done under general or local anesthesia, with incisions in the skin and/or mucosa of the mouth, or using an endoscope, which is a thin flexible tube that is inserted through the opening from the nose to the polyp site. Since the endoscope has a camera at the tip, the doctor is able to look at the site and remove the polyp with the help of a small cutting instrument at the tip of the tube.
After the surgery, the doctor usually prescribes some anti-inflammatory sprays and with corticosteroids that must be applied to prevent the polyp from re-emerge, being necessary to do the surgery again. In addition, nasal lavage with saline solution may be recommended to stimulate healing.