Everyone has difficulty breathing from time to time. There are a myriad of causes, from the common cold to something more extensive such as a deviated septum or enlarged nasal turbinates.

However, one of the most common forms of nasal obstruction is nasal valve collapse, which is seen in 1 out of every 4 patients with nasal obstruction. We’ll take a look at this condition, what causes it and how it is treated.

What Is Nasal Valve Collapse?

When we say, “nasal valve collapse,” we mean that there is a condition that is causing the nasal valve to weaken or narrow. 
The main symptoms of nasal valve collapse include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose

The nasal valve is the narrow area at the tip of the nose composed of the tip cartilages and the septum. The septum is the center part of your nose that divides it into the left and right nostril. 

The nasal valve is actually composed of several different structures, particularly the place where the upper lateral cartilages come in contact with the septum. 

Because this area is so small, even a minor blockage or slight change in the nose structure can cause a big problem with breathing.

What Causes Nasal Valve Collapse?

There are several different causes that include nasal trauma, prior nasal surgery (especially rhinoplasty) and congenitally weak nasal cartilages.

Typically, the most common cause is a rhinoplasty, although it can also be caused by continued inflammation or scar tissue.

However, it is possible for a patient to have nasal valve collapse without any obvious causes.

How Do I Know If I Have Nasal Valve Collapse?

We can easily diagnose your condition in our office, but you can also make a diagnosis of this problem at your home. You may have nasal valve collapse if:

  • Your breathing is improved when the cheek skin is pushed towards the ear, or
  • Your breathing is improved with Breathe-Right(or similar) strips

In certain cases, we need to perform a closer examination of the nose in order to assist us in the diagnosis. Occasionally, this may involve a nasal endoscopy.

If you find that you have the symptoms listed above or you’ve reached a conclusion based upon a home diagnosis, you should schedule an appointment so we can determine the best method of treatment to help you breathe easily again.

How Is Nasal Valve Collapse Treated?

There are both non-surgical and surgical options for treatment.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Nasal Valve Collapse

Non-surgical treatment involves use of allergy medicines(such as antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays) as well as Breathe- Right strips. 

Surgical Treatment for Nasal Valve Collapse

Surgical treatment includes reconstructing the tip cartilages to improve their strength, often with straightening of the septum. This is performed through a small incision at the base of the nose and frequently septal and/or ear cartilage is used in the reconstruction.

Raleigh Capitol Ear, Nose and Throat: The Provider of Choice for Raleigh and the Triangle Areas

Looking for an ear, nose and throat doctor in Raleigh? For decades, we’ve been providing world-class care to residents through one of our several convenient locations. 

Our physicians are board-certified and recognized as leaders in their field. We offer extensive treatment through our sinus center not only for nasal valve collapse, but for other conditions such as:

  • Deviated septum
  • Septal perforation
  • Nasal polyps 
  • Enlarged turbinates
  • Sleep apnea
  • Rhinosinusitis

Many of our procedures and treatments can be done in our office, which not only provides faster recovery, but is also more economically efficient. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you!