Surgical and non-invasive treatment options for nasal polyps
Nasal polyps are cellular growths that are typically found along the inner lining of the nose or the nasal sinuses. Such growths are considered to be small tumors and are generally non-cancerous in nature. Nasal polyps can occur in one or both nostrils and nasal pathways, and they can potentially obstruct the flow of air if the growth is left unchecked. One could, as a result, develop the feeling of a stuffy nose and even suffer from a compromised sense of smell.
Depending on the size of the polyps and the cause behind these growths, the severity of the condition may vary from person to person. Similarly, the treatment approach recommended to a patient may also vary on the basis of their condition. In general, nasal polyps can be treated through surgical as well as non-surgical methods.
Some non-surgical treatment options for nasal polyps are
- Nasal corticosteroids
People with small polyp growths that do not completely obstruct the nasal pathways are usually prescribed corticosteroids. These medications are commonly sold in the form of nasal sprays. Nasal corticosteroids helpful in reducing the size of nasal polyps and can also eliminate them completely, depending on what one starts with. Any swelling or irritation that a person may experience while dealing with nasal polyps will also be alleviated. These nasal sprays often contain compounds like fluticasone, mometasone, beclomethasone and ciclesonide.
- Oral and injectable corticosteroids
If the nasal polyps are particularly large and sensitive, these mild nasal corticosteroids may not have the effects that one desires. The size of the polyps may shrink at a slow pace or not change at all. In such a situation, the doctor may switch the prescription to an oral corticosteroid that is stronger than the spray variant. These oral alternatives are often prescribed in combination with a nasal spray so that the best-possible effect can be achieved. However, most oral corticosteroids are only prescribed for a limited period since prolonged exposure can result in considerably severe side effects. Oral and nasal corticosteriods may have much of an effect on large and severe polyps. In such cases, the patient may have to be administered injectable corticosteroids.
- Miscellaneuos medications
Severe nasal polyps are often accompanied by other symptoms and health conditions that may cause major long-term problems. Some symptoms include swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages or sinuses. For such symptoms, the doctor may prescribe certain medications that can provide long-term relief to the patient. Moreover, if the patient experiences any chronic or recurring infection, they may have to be put on antibiotics to treat those infections. A notable observation regarding nasal polyps patients is that they are extremely sensitive to aspirin. An allergy specialist may help with the desensitization of such patients against aspirin and may even prescribe certain antihistamines for other allergies.
- Medications for chronic sinusitis
One of the most challenging conditions that usually accompanies nasal polyps is chronic sinusitis. Such a condition is quite difficult to completely get rid of and will need special attention from a healthcare provider. If one is diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps, the doctor may inject them with a medication called dupilumab that will help decrease the congestion in the sinuses as well as reduce polyp size.
If any of the above non-surgical methods are insufficient for treating a particular patient, the doctor may recommend getting the polyps removed by surgical means. In this form of treatment, the nasal polyps are removed through endoscopic surgery. This surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. In this procedure, a small incision is made in the patient’s face and a tube with a magnifying lens or camera at the end is inserted. Such tubes are called endoscopes and are used to get rid of the polyps or understand any other issues that may cause problems with the sinuses. Once the polyps are spotted, the physician will remove these polyps using tiny instruments. Sometimes, they may also drain or remove any other substances to unclog the flow of fluids in the sinuses. Once the polyps are removed, the doctor will send the mass to be tested in the laboratory to make sure that the growths are not potentially cancerous in nature.
Post-surgery preventative measures
After the nasal polyps are surgically removed, it is possible that the condition may relapse in the patient. And this is why faster healing is promoted in this case when steps are taken for relapse preventation after the endoscopic process is complete. The doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray to be used for a while after the surgery is done to ensure that the polyps are completely gone. They may also recommend such patients to use saline, i.e., salt, water to regularly rinse the spot where the polyps were. Saline water promotes healing and prevents infections from occuring at the site.