Nasal Valve Collapse: Latest Treatments To Breakthrough Breathing problems

Do you experience difficulty breathing at night or trouble breathing through your nose in general? Nasal valve collapse may be the culprit.

There are many potential causes of nasal obstruction that can range from allergies, sinus infections, and nasal polyps, to structural problems with the nose—such as a deviated septum.

Another common cause is nasal valve collapse.

Its symptoms are similar to those seen in many other conditions, such as chronic sinusitis or a viral infection. These main symptoms include congestion, nasal obstruction and difficulty breathing through the nose, especially at night.

In fact, nasal valve collapse is seen in as many as 1 out of every 4 patients with nasal obstruction.

If you think you may suffer from nasal valve collapse, continue reading to learn more about this condition, the latest innovative treatments options, and how they may help you breathe better.

What is Nasal Valve Collapse?

When we refer to “nasal valve collapse,” we mean that there is a condition that is causing the nasal valve to weaken or narrow. The nasal valve refers to the area where the lower nasal cartilage meets the inside of the nose at the septum (the center part of your nose that divides it into the left and right nostril). The nasal valve is actually composed of several different structures—and because this area is so small, even a minor blockage or slight change in the nose structure can cause a big problem with breathing. In some patients, this cartilage is weak and floppy and collapses on itself which results in nasal obstruction.

What Causes Nasal Valve Collapse?

There are a number of reasons it can develop. In some cases, nasal valve collapse may even be hereditary or genetic. For example, it is much more common in those who have narrow nostrils or an over-projecting nose.

Some of the most common causes include:

  • Trauma to the nose
  • Inflammation
  • Aging
  • Scar tissue
  • Weak nasal cartilage
  • Enlarged tissue
  • Complications following rhinoplasty (nose plastic surgery)

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Chronic nasal obstruction can have a significant impact on the quality of your life, As previously mentioned, main symptoms include congestion, nasal obstruction and difficulty breathing through the nose or the feeling of an inability to get enough through your nose. You may experience additional symptoms such as,  interrupted sleep, day-time fatigue, and loud snoring, among others.

The most definitive way of diagnosing nasal obstruction is by an office-based nasal endoscopy. This procedure allows us to more closely examine your nasal passages. It will also help us determine if there is another cause for your chronic congestion, such as a deviated septum or polyps. A diagnostic nasal endoscopy enables an ENT to make the most accurate assessment and confirm a diagnosis.

Treatments for Nasal Valve Collapse

Many procedures are available to address nasal valve collapse including two of the latest treatments: LATERA® nasal implants and low level heat energy (VivAer®). In certain cases, more aggressive surgical techniques including stitching and cartilage implants may be needed. We have experience with all techniques and have helped to develop many of these technologies.

Here’s a further look at 3 main treatment approaches:

The LATERA® Procedure

LATERA® is a small, absorbable nasal implant. During the procedure, this implant is gently inserted into the wall of your nose, where it supports cartilage, reducing nasal airway obstruction. It works by helping your airways stay open when you breathe, enabling you to breathe easier. Because it is the implant is absorbable, it will just dissolve and there is no need for removal. At the same time,, the treatment offers ongoing relief. Two years after the procedure, patients still experienced a 57% reduction in nasal obstruction symptoms.

Other benefits of LATERA® include:

  • Patients find it easier to breathe through their nose
  • Reduced nasal stuffiness and congestion
  • Patients find it easier to breathe or get enough air through their noses when exercising
  • Less trouble sleeping
Who is a Candidate for the LATERA® Procedure?

You may be a candidate for LATERA® if you experience the following factors:

  • You have been diagnosed with nasal valve collapse
  • You have serious, chronic nasal obstruction
  • Nasal congestion improves when you use nasal strips
  • Nasal stuffiness that does not go away despite traditional treatment
  • Difficulty going to sleep because of nasal congestion
Radiofrequency Treatment with VivAer®

.VivAer® Nasal Airway Remodeling is a cutting-edge technology that uses radiofrequency energy to remodel/reshape the cartilages of your nose and open the nasal valve without altering the outward look of your nose.

The procedure utilizes a specially designed instrument, a VivAer, small hand-held stylus (a pen-like device), which is used to deliver controlled, low-temperature radiofrequency energy to your nasal valve area. The tip of the stylus gently reshapes the tissues of your collapsed nasal valve, creating more room inside your nose. You may feel a bit of pressure during the procedure, but that’s all about it.

Increasing the area of  nasal valve decreases resistance in the nasal passageways and enables the nasal airways to open more, helping patients to breathe normally again. VivAer® provides a simple, outpatient, surgery-free alternative to get relief from nasal stuffiness and its effects. The procedure usually takes only around 15 minutes and patients can resume normal activities right away. More than 90% of patients report dramatic improvement in breathing by around one month. This benefit tends to improve further in three months and lasts for up to 24 months.

Benefits of the VivAer® Procedure

This approach is highly successful, and benefits include: .

  • Painless and non-invasive
  • Simple, quick Alternative to surgery
  • Preserves the external appearance (doesn’t cause any outward change to your nose structure)
  • Clinically proven
  • No downtime

Patients undergoing the VivAer® procedure report:

  • Improved sleep function
  • Better concentration
  • Better productivity
  • More energy and less fatigue during the day
Nasal Surgery for Nasal Valve Collapse

While LATERA® and VivAer® radiofrequency are an excellent alternative to traditional nasal surgery, there may be cases where more extensive surgery is needed. During surgery, we reconstruct the cartilages in your nose in order to improve your airway. This surgery is performed through one small incision at the nose’s base. If needed, we can use ear cartilage for reconstruction.

Ready to put your breathing problems to bed for good? At The Ohio Sinus Institute, we not only have experience with all the techniques, we have helped to develop many of these technologies.

If you think suffer from nasal valve collapse or other breathing difficulties, contact us to set up your appointment or learn more. We’ll help diagnosis the cause of your nasal obstruction and find the personalized treatment options that are right for you.

Call us today!