What Is Posterior Nasal Nerve (PNN) Ablation and How Can It Fix a Runny Nose?
There are several ways to manage the symptoms of a chronic runny nose. These include home remedies such as rest and fluids and decongestants. Others may find relief in saline sprays or some types of prescription nose sprays.
While these may provide temporary relief, eventually, the symptoms return, especially in those who have chronic rhinitis.
But what if, instead of just merely coping with symptoms, you could fix the underlying problem?
It’s possible thanks to a new in-office procedure at Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose and Throat called posterior nasal nerve ablation.
What Is Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation?
Chronic runny noses that resist treatment are often caused by hyperactive nerves that are located in the back (posterior) part of your nose.
Posterior nasal nerve ablation involves sending either cold temperatures or radiofrequency energy to these hyperactive nerves. As a result, the nerves stop sending “signals” that prompt the runny nose. The procedure is minimally invasive and a safe treatment that doesn’t just concentrate on relieving symptoms—it deals with the heart of the matter to provide long-lasting relief.
Posterior nasal nerve ablation is easily performed in our office using the FDA-approved ClariFix Cryotherapy or RhinAer.
Is Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation Successful?
Posterior nasal nerve ablation has a high success rate. Clinical studies demonstrate that 4 out of 5 patients reported long-lasting, extensive relief from symptoms. Improvements are often seen within weeks to a few months following the procedure.
Other Benefits of Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation
For those with chronic rhinitis who regularly struggle with runny noses, there are numerous benefits to the procedure. These benefits include:
- Minimum impact on nasal connective tissues
- Fast healing
- No visible scars
- Few side effects
- Preservation of blood vessels and other nasal tissues
What Happens During Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation?
First, we’ll discuss a treatment plan with you and review your medical history. We assure you that we will take time to answer all of your questions.
Before the procedure begins, our ear, nose and throat physician in Raleigh will use a local anesthesia to numb the inside of your nose. Then, an endoscope is placed in your nasal cavity.
An endoscope is a long, thin tube generally less than 4 mm wide. It utilizes fiber optics and a tiny camera to enable us to clearly view inside your nose. (You can read more in our previous blog about nasal endoscopies.)
Then, using a small prod, either cold treatment or radiofrequency energy is applied to the area. This “calms” the nerves in the back of your nose so they don’t continually send signals that cause your nose to run.
How Long Does Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation Take?
In general, the procedure can be completed in an hour or less. In fact, many patients are able to resume their normal routine within a day.
Is Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation Covered by Insurance?
Every individual insurance policy is different, and we encourage you to speak to your representative to understand what is covered and what isn’t.
However, in general, more and more insurance companies are covering the posterior nasal nerve ablation procedure.
Our surgery scheduling and billing departments will take care to work with patients to help them understand exactly what is covered and what is not before any procedure is performed.
Is PNN Ablation Painful?
You might feel a little pressure and a cold sensation, especially in the area near your back teeth, but the procedure is typically not painful. Any pain is typically easily managed with over-the-counter medication.
During the healing phase, you may experience a short period of discomfort. As always, if you have questions concerning your recovery from the procedure, please let us know. We’re happy to provide all the answers you need.
Am I a Candidate for Posterior Nasal Nerve Ablation?
No one treatment is right for everyone, and that’s why we tailor each approach to fit your individual situation. We’ll work with you to determine if PNN ablation is right for you.
However, in general, candidates for PNN :
- Have had severe symptoms over the course of several months
- Have been diagnosed with chronic rhinitis
- Have trouble with clear runny nose, especially made worse when eating meals, with temperature changes, or with exercise
Are There Side Effects for PNN ?
One of the main advantages of this procedure is that it has minimal side effects. The most common side effect is a brief increase in nasal congestion that tends to last for a few days before resolving.
What Is Chronic Rhinitis?
Those with chronic rhinitis can benefit extensively from the PNN ablation procedure.
But what is chronic rhinitis, and how does it affect your nasal passages?
Rhinitis occurs when your nasal passages are inflamed. The result is postnasal drip, sneezing, nasal itching, congestion and a runny nose (vasomotor rhinitis). If it lasts for more than four consecutive weeks, it is considered a chronic condition.
There are actually two types of chronic rhinitis: allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis. Each has its own distinct set of different causes.
What Causes Non-Allergic Rhinitis?
Typically, non-allergic rhinitis is caused by elements such as:
- Strong odors
- Environmental irritants like detergent and tobacco smoke
- Changes in weather
- Spicy foods
- Viral infections
- Certain pain relievers, prostate medications, overuse of nasal sprays
- Nasal drug use
- Structural problems with your nose, including enlarged turbinates or a deviated septum
What Causes Allergic Rhinitis (aka “Hay Fever”)?
An allergen is anything that causes an allergic reaction. Common allergens including pollen, trees, ragweed and certain grasses.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when you come into contact with one of these allergens, resulting in the itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and postnasal drip that is commonly called “hay fever.”
PNN Ablation is a perfect solution for treating both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis that have not responded well to medical treatment.
Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose and Throat Offers Solutions for Chronic Runny Noses
Postnasal drip isn’t just annoying. It drains your energy. It makes it difficult to continue to participate in everyday activities and can make it impossible to get a decent night’s sleep.
We’re proud to be able to offer this revolutionary new solution to stop chronic runny noses due to rhinitis or other nasal problems. We conveniently offer it in-office, so there is minimal disruption to your daily routine.
Want to learn more? Just contact us to see if you’re a candidate. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.