Nasal polyps

Nasal Polyps: Should You Consider Surgery? (And Other FAQs)

Are nasal polyps sabotaging your sinus health? These often stealthy growths inside your nose can make your sinus issues worse and cause a host of miserable symptoms. What exactly are they and what can you do about them? 

Keep reading below to learn more about nasal polyps: 

What are they? 

Nasal polyps are callous-like growths that can develop in the nasal lining and where the sinuses open into your nasal cavity. They are not tumors and don’t become cancerous, but they can cause a number of problematic symptoms. 

In most cases, polyps are thought to develop as a result of chronic inflammation of the mucus membranes of the sinuses and from a hyperactive response to irritants—such as allergens—that are breathed in. Having a genetic disposition may also play a part in why some people may develop polyps and others don’t.

What symptoms can polyps cause?

The size of nasal polyps can vary. Small polyps may not cause any issues and you may not even know that you have them. If left untreated, however, small polyps may grow larger, The larger in size they are, the more likely they are to cause problems.

Large growths or clusters of nasal polyps often lead to a number of more troublesome issues that can impact your health and overall quality of life—and with extreme polyp growth, complications can occur that may be more serious. 

Nasal polyps can cause issues such as: 

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Runny or stuff nose 
  • Headaches and facial pressure or pain
  • Sinusitis and frequent infection
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Snoring 

How can you treat nasal polyps? 

The first step you’ll want to take for determining the appropriate treatment for your nasal polyps is to get evaluated by an experienced sinus surgeon. 

Generally, initial treatment is focused on preventing further polyp growth, especially with smaller polyps.  Medications and intranasal steroid (INS) sprays are common treatments that can effectively help prevent growth and even potentially shrink nasal polyps.

In some cases, surgery to remove polyps may be a potential treatment option—but it’s not typically recommended as a first line treatment. 

When should you consider surgical removal? 

If initial, conservative treatments don’t provide effective relief, surgery removal of nasal polyps may be considered. 

When your symptoms are too significant to ignore and not improved by medication, surgery may be an option that can provide significant relief. 

How successful is nasal polyp surgery? 

The important thing to understand is, even with surgery, polyps have a very high recurrence rate. The rate is so high, in fact, patients should probably expect regrowth at some point. Nasal polyps surgery can lead to a great reduction in symptom and some patients often feel immediately better after surgery. But this relief may not be permanent without additional treatment in the future.

A realistic goal of polyp removal surgery might be to lengthen the time to reoccurrence —to many years, not may months.  When your symptoms are intolerable and seriously impacting your life, surgical treatment may be very well worth it. 

When you suffer from nasal polyps, there are a variety of treatments that can help. Take the first step to finding relief from nasal polyps by contacting our office today.