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Nasal Polyps Definition

Nasal polyposis (or nasal polyps for short) consists of reactive tumors that are caused by severe inflammation.

As your nose swells and congests from inflammation, such as from allergies or infection, small pouches or balloons may form. They can shrink or swell, but for the most part continue to become larger and larger until they cause problems such as nasal obstruction, recurrent sinusitis, or loss of smell.

Other types and causes of nasal polyps besides simple inflammatory polyps include benign tumors called inverting papilloma, which need to be removed to avoid destruction from its local effects in the nose, as well as rare causes such as nasal cancers (for example, olfactory neuroblastomas).

Treatment for Nasal Polyps

If you have or think you might have nasal polyps, you’ll need to seek an evaluation by a board-certified ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor who specializes in rhinology (disorders of the nose).

In Dr. Pasha’s clinic, several steps are required in the workup of nasal polyps:

  1. Nasal endoscopy (painless microscopic evaluation of the nose)
  2. Allergy testing to root out the cause
  3. A CT scan (X-ray) to determine where the polyps are coming from

Dr. Pasha and his staff utilize numerous methods to remove nasal polyps, ranging from in-office procedures (nasal polypectomy) to sinus surgery using stereotactic guidance, depending on factors such as the severity of the disease and risk of recurrence. Advanced techniques such as corticosteroid implants, which can be inserted in the office or operating room, as well as biologics (specialized medicine that reduces inflammation created by bacteria and yeast) may also be helpful.

Recurrence is a common problem with many types of nasal polyps, so the key to managing them is not just to remove them but to prevent them from coming back. Dr. Pasha will spend a great deal of effort in determining the cause and then providing a solution to prevent the polyps from returning, from specialized nasal rinses to allergy shots.

Nasal Polyps FAQs

What Are the Common Causes of Nasal Polyps?

There are many potential causes of inflammatory polyps. The most common include airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, and animal dander.

Mold is another allergen that can be particularly challenging, especially if you have a true mold allergy, since mold naturally lives in your sinuses. This particular case is called allergic fungal sinusitis.

The Pasha Snoring and Sinus Center routinely tests for pollen and mold allergies on all patients with nasal polyps.

Can Polyps Be Cancer or Pre-cancer?

The short answer is “yes,” but cancerous nasal polyps are extremely rare. All polyps removed will be taken for biopsy and read by a pathologist to determine the type of polyp and its potential to be cancerous.

Why Do Nasal Polyps Recur So Often?

Patients as well as doctors tend to focus on just removing the polyps. The real challenge is preventing the polyps from coming back.

Once your polyps are removed successfully, you will feel great and will be less motivated to do what is required to prevent recurrence. Dr. Pasha always says, “Taking out the polyps is the easy part — now the real work starts!”

You will need to take care of your nose like you take care of your teeth with daily care and follow-ups. Determining the best path to prevent recurrence is different for everyone. You may require allergy management, chronic nasal irrigations, or specialized medication.

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