Nasal polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. They hang down like teardrops or grapes. They result from chronic inflammation and are associated with asthma, recurring infection, allergies, drug sensitivity or certain immune disorders.
Small nasal polyps may not cause symptoms. Larger growths or groups of nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or lead to breathing problems, a lost sense of smell and frequent sinus infections as well as cough and asthma exacerbations from significant postnasal drip.
Nasal polyps can affect anyone, but they’re more common in adults. Medications can often shrink nasal polyps, but procedures or surgery is very often needed to remove them. Even after successful surgical treatment, nasal polyps can return if patients don’t follow strict medical management.
Nasal polyps are associated with irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the lining of your nasal passages and sinuses that lasts more than 12 weeks (chronic sinusitis).
However, it’s possible to have chronic sinusitis without nasal polyps.
Nasal polyps themselves are soft and lack sensation, so if they’re small, you may not be aware you have them. Multiple growths or a large polyp may block your nasal passages and sinuses.
Common signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include:
- A runny nose
- Persistent nasal stuffiness
- Postnasal drip w/ or w/o a chronic cough
- Decreased or absent sense of smell
- Loss of sense of taste
- Facial pain or headache
- Pain in your upper teeth
- A sense of pressure over your forehead and face
- Frequent nosebleeds
Often very mild cases of nasal polyps can be managed with daily intranasal steroid sprays (i.e. Flonase, Nasacort etc.), however more advanced cases which have been ongoing will need surgical treatment to remove the polyps from the nasal and sinus passages and allow proper airflow into the nose and sinuses. In mild cases this procedure can be done in the office by Dr. Cohen under local anesthesia via In-Office Balloon Sinuplasty with image-guided endoscopic sinus surgery via a hybrid procedure with turbinate reduction. This is a 30-minute procedure with minimal recovery over 1-2 days. However, for more advanced and severe cases Dr. Cohen will often recommend outpatient Minimally Invasive Image-Guided Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (MIGSS™) with turbinate reduction and with or without septoplasty done at the surgical center with patients under anesthesia. This is usually a 60-90 minute procedure and entails 4-5 day recovery time. This will provide the best chance in severe cases of preventing recurrence of polyps or need for revision surgery. Most patients will need to stay on medicated sinus rinses or sprays for months after the procedure to make sure the polyps do not return. At times Dr. Cohen may also work with various allergists to make sure allergy shots are implemented or biologic therapy to prevent polyp recurrence as well. As such Dr. Cohen’s patients often come to him from long-distances for management of their advanced polyp cases so they don’t have to keep having more and more surgeries.
If you suspect that you may have nasal or sinus polyps it is important that you be seen at the Southern California Sinus Institute. In some cases, the occurrence of nasal and sinus polyps may lead to more serious conditions. Contact Dr. Cohen’s office today to schedule a consultation for effective treatment of your nasal and sinus polyps.