A nasal valve collapse is a weakness in, or further narrowing of, the nasal valve, the narrowest part of the airway located in the mid to lower part of the nose. Its main function is to limit airflow. However, if the region narrows more than normal, airflow becomes further restricted, possibly leading to complete airway blockage.
A nasal valve collapse is usually caused by nose trauma, including blows, falls, and even nose surgery.
At Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat, otolaryngologists Dr. James Osborne and Dr. Bryan Smedley provide a wide range of services for nasal conditions, including nasal valve collapse. It's one of the most common causes of nasal obstruction.
We treat the condition surgically and employ several techniques depending on each case's symptoms and unique circumstances. If you’re in the Surprise, Arizona, area and have problems with nasal obstruction, Oasis ENT is where you want to be.
Types of nasal valve collapse
There are two categories of nasal valve collapse:
1. Internal nasal valve collapse
The nasal valve is located between the skin and the respiratory epithelium (tissue lining that moistens and protects the airways) and is responsible for most nasal resistance.
2. External nasal valve collapse
Three structures form the external nasal valve: the columella (skin and cartilage that divides your nostrils), the nasal floor, and the nasal rim. It may occur on either side of the nose or both. If both are collapsed, you’re more likely to have your airway blocked completely.
Nasal valve collapse symptoms
The most common symptoms of nasal valve collapse include:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal passage obstruction
- Nasal bleeding
- Crusting around the nostrils
If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if you’ve had trauma to the nose, come to our office for a proper diagnosis.
Symptoms may also occur from irregularities with other nasal structures, such as having a deviated septum, the line of tissue that divides the nostrils. If the tissue is bent to one side or the other, it can make breathing through that nostril difficult.
Treating nasal valve collapse
Nasal valve collapse usually requires surgical treatment, and we may use several techniques.
Our experienced surgeon removes cartilage or bone from a different part of your body (often ear or rib) and then grafts the tissue into your nose, widening the nasal valve. Grafting techniques vary, but the most common is the Alar Batten graft.
We implant a device that supports the cartilage that’s fallen into your airway. Implants include a titanium butterfly-shaped device and an injectable implant called Latera®.
We use sutures to connect tissue from the nasal valve to tissue under the eye, which “lifts” your nasal valve upward and outward, expanding the airway.
You may also need surgery to address any structural issues contributing to your nasal valve collapse, such as septoplasty, which corrects a deviated septum, or turbinate reduction, which reduces the size of bony structures inside your nose.
You may have nasal valve collapse if you’re having trouble breathing through one or both nostrils. Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat can help. To learn more or schedule an evaluation with one of our doctors, call us at 623-207-7560 or book online.