Nasal polyps are benign tumours, i.e. diverticula of the nasal mucosa. They can prevent you from breathing through your nose, cause your voice to sound nasal when you speak, impaired sense of smell and snoring. The first step is usually to treat nasal polyps with medication. If the medical treatment is inadequate, nasal polyps can be surgically removed.

No one knows why nasal polyps occur. It is assumed that there is an interplay between genetic predisposition and chronic inflammation of the mucosa in the nose (rhinitis) as well as the paranasal sinuses (sinusitis). However, nasal polyps in turn also facilitate inflammation in the nose. Nasal polyps usually occur on both sides of the nose and often originate in the paranasal sinuses.

Depending on their size and location, nasal polyps can vary in severity from patient to patient. Impaired nasal breathing, snoring, a nasal-sounding voice and an impaired sense of smell are typical symptoms of nasal polyps. However, headaches can also occur or even mouth odour, because those affected breathe more often through the mouth, which causes the oral mucosa to dry out in the process. People with nasal polyps also suffer from colds more frequently as the secretion flow and cleaning of the nose is impacted.

If there are suspected nasal polyps, a rhinoscopy is carried out. A tissue sample can be taken to rule out a malignant tumour.

The first step is usually to treat the nasal polyps locally with anti-inflammatory nasal sprays (cortisone). If the treatment is inadequate, cortisone tablets are administered. If there is a concomitant allergy, additional medication is used to combat the allergy. If the medical treatment is inadequate or the nasal polyps are large and seriously impact on the patient’s ability to breathe through their nose, surgery may necessary. The nasal polyps are removed right back to where they originate in the paranasal sinuses. Surgery usually takes place through the nose using the minimally invasive endoscopic technique.

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