The nasal valve, located in the lower to middle part of the nose, is the narrowest part of the airway. Its primary function is to limit airflow. Since this part of your nasal anatomy is already narrow, any additional narrowing can restrict airflow too much or even cause a blockage.
Nasal valve collapse is usually the result of trauma to the nose. If you’re injured during a game of tennis at Loma Linda Park or if the nose is narrowed too much during rhinoplasty, nasal valve collapse could be the result.
There are two types of nasal valve collapse: internal and external. The type depends on which part of the nasal valve the collapse occurs in.
The internal nasal valve is responsible for most of the nasal resistance. It’s located between the skin and respiratory epithelium, or the lining of the respiratory tract that moistens and protects the airway.
The external nasal valve is made up of the nasal floor, nasal rim and columella, or the piece of skin and cartilage that divides the nostrils.
Symptoms of Nasal Valve Collapse
If you experience nasal valve collapse, you may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose.
- Obstruction in the nasal passage.
- Nasal bleeding.
- Crusting around the nostrils.
You should see a doctor right away if you experience these symptoms, especially following trauma to the nose.
Treatment for Nasal Valve Collapse
If the collapse is mild, it may be treated with a nasal valve dilator. This is a device that manually widens the nasal valve. It may be worn internally or externally, and usually only at night.
Another option is a bioabsorbable implant; stabilization of the lateral nasal wall with a bioabsorbable implant improves patients’ nasal obstructive symptoms over six months.
Finally, a nasal valve collapse is usually treated with surgery. There are several surgical techniques that may be effective, and your doctor can determine which is best for your situation.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.