A common cause of chronic blockage of the nose is the development of benign nasal polyps. These are swellings which arise from a swelling of inflamed nasal and sinus lining tissue. There is thought to be a relationship between polyp formation and allergy. It is therefore my practice to investigate such patients with a comprehensive allergy test. The tests used are blood allergy tests and skin-prick tests. I perform diagnostic nasal endoscopy in the clinic on all patients presenting with nasal symptoms. I will also arrange for a CT scan of the sinuses to be performed as polyps may form from within the sinuses and the CT scan will determine the position of the polyps. Polyps can produce the following symptoms: nasal blockage, discharge, bleeding, loss or reduction of senses of smell and taste, a widening of the external appearance of the nose and pain from associated sinusitis.
Treatment will depend on severity of the polyps. Initially medications will be used such as steroid nasal drops or spray, anti-histamines and nasal rinses. If these treatments fail to improve the condition and/or with more extensive disease, surgery will be offered to the patient in the form of removal of polyps or polypectomy. It is performed endoscopically and may be carried out in conjunction with other FESS (Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery) techniques. Patients are usually delighted with the outcome of the surgery with a significant improvement in their nasal breathing and often an improvement in their sense of smell.