Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are noncancerous tissue growths that line the nasal passages or sinuses. The first step in treatment usually involves medications. Drugs such as corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation.

Symptoms & Causes

If medical treatment is ineffective, surgery may be recommended. Small, individual polyps can be removed during an outpatient procedure known as a polypectomy. Another common outpatient procedure is an endoscopic sinus surgery.

The exact cause of nasal polyps is not fully understood. Some people seem more predisposed to developing them than others. There is speculation that people who suffer from allergies are more likely to develop polyps, as are those with asthma or frequent sinus infections, possibly as the result of a different type of immune system, but this has never been scientifically proven and is controversial at best.

Treating Nasal Polyps

Successfully treating nasal polyps entails shrinking them down to a manageable size or eliminating them altogether. The first step usually involves medications; drugs such as corticosteroids (nasal, oral, or injectable) can help reduce inflammation. Other medicines may be prescribed to treat the condition responsible for nasal polyps. Antihistamines and antibiotics are among the more common choices.

If medical treatment is ineffective, surgery may be recommended. Small, individual polyps can be removed during an outpatient procedure known as a polypectomy. This involves using an instrument to extract the polyp through an incision or suction. Another common procedure is endoscopic sinus surgery. The surgeon guides a tube with a small camera attached through the nostrils and into the sinus cavities, where polyps and other obstructions are carefully removed using tiny, sharp instruments. This is also an outpatient procedure. Post-op care requires the application of a corticosteroid nasal spray to prevent nasal polyps from coming back.