You know, More than 70% of the air you breathe in passes through your nasal valve!!
Collapsing of the nasal valve leads to lowering the amount of air you breathe and, thus, a lesser supply of oxygen.
It also impacts your QoL (Quality of Life) negatively.
So, this article would be of great help to you if you get stuck in this problem ever.
And you can even help someone close to you needs your advice on his/her nasal valve collapse.
So, let’s dive right in!!
What Will You Learn?
Understanding Nasal Valve Structure
Your nose is much more complicated than it seems. The real explanation of the nasal valve structure was brought to this world by Mink in 1903.
Your valve is divided into two parts, i.e., external valve and internal valve.
But more often, the internal structure is regarded as the complete nasal valve.
The anterior end of inferior turbinates (structures responsible for cleansing and humidifying air), aligns adjacently with the nasal septum.
The septum and the ULC (upper lateral cartilage) form an angle of 10-15° between them.
This whole structure constitutes your nasal valve. For some time it might confuse you. And that’s all fine.
The last thing you must know is:
The nasal valve area is the site of the highest resistance to nasal airflow. So, even a bit, collapsing has a severe effect on airflow dynamics.
That’s a bit indigestible! Isn’t it? But, nothing to worry, everything would be cleared by the time you reach the bottom.
What Is a Nasal Valve Collapse?
Nasal Valve Collapse is a term for the narrowing of your nasal passage due to weakening your nasal valves. Thus, making it too difficult for you to breathe through your nose.
And the reason behind it being increased resistance and blocked airflow.
The question which follows is – What causes your nasal valve to collapse? Though there are many, some are very common.
Let’s get to know them now.
What Causes A Nasal Valve Collapse?
As mentioned above, your nasal valve may collapse due to several reasons.
Below are some of the most common among them which you must be aware of.
If you have undergone rhinoplasty (other terms for nose job) ever, then there might be some possible complications with your nasal valve.
These complications could be severe sometimes. Thus, leaving you with a collapsed nasal valve.
Trauma or injury involving your nose is also a cause for collapsing of your nasal valve.
It is so because the nasal valve is a complicated and delicate structure. And, even a bit of complication with it is severe for your nose.
It is not always necessary that you get your nasal valve collapsed only due to some trauma or history of surgery.
It is often inherited through your parents genetically.
As you get older, the muscles from which your valves are made up of, start getting weak.
So, there’s also a high chance of developing a valve collapse with increasing age and the natural aging process.
Studies even claim that inhalation of cocaine for a long time is a cause behind the collapsed nasal valve.
Along with it, septum deviation is also a prevalent cause.
So, as you must have got a glimpse that there’s not a single cause for nostril collapse.
There are several small-small factors contributing to it. Hence if you have got a collapsed valve, there’s nothing to worry much.
Symptoms Helping You Identify Collapsed Valve
Congestion in the nose while breathing is the most noticeable symptom showing your valves are collapsed.
But apart from it, few more signs help you figure out whether you have a nasal valve collapse.
The symptoms include:
- Stuffiness of Nasal Passage
- Difficulty in Sleeping
- The feeling of Nasal Blockage or Bloody Nose
- Breathing Difficulty While Doing Workouts
- Crusting of Nostrils
How do you fix a collapsed nasal valve?
For handling this disease, there are both non-surgical as well as surgical methods (used most often).
Let’s have an eye over both type of treatment options, one-by-one.
1. Non-Surgical Methods
Even though many patients recover this issue through non-surgical options, surgical treatment is required occasionally.
Some conventional non-surgical methods include:
Antihistamine – Oral H1, has long been known for its effectiveness in allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Some pieces of evidence also show them to have modest decongestant action in conditions like collapsing of nasal valves.
Antihistamines also help with symptoms of allergy such as runny nose/ rhinorrhea.
II. Nasal Corticosteroid:
Nasal steroid spray or nasal corticosteroids are used for medication delivery to the nasal cavities.
Along with helping in conditions such as nasal congestion and allergic rhinitis, they also help you with collapsed nasal valves.
They help to reduce swelling of your tissues forming valves and thus provide an extra millimetre of space for air to pass.
These sprays feel fantastic to use during nasal congestion (whatever be the cause).
III. Nasal Strip:
We often notice athletes applying a bandage over their nose. Did you ever get why they do so? It is done to prevent snoring and reduce congestion during sports.
Nasal strips help with making your breath easy. It’s a type of adhesive bandage applied over your nasal bridge and sides of nostrils. Thus, facilitating to keep the airway open.
IV. Nasal Dilators:
These are also a safe go-to option for blocked nasal passage. As nasal strips (also known as external nasal dilators), these too are visible from outside.
Still, they are of great help when you need to breathe through your nose during congestion due to valve collapse.
And the best thing, they prevent you from surgery and medications. These dilators usually pull your tissues from inside. Thus, making your nasal passage wider for you.
Side Note: Non-Surgical treatments are temporary go-to options, as they don’t change the physiology (or structure) of your nose.
2. Surgical Methods
The surgical methods have long been known for treating any nasal issue permanently. And this is also true when it comes to curing collapsed nasal valves.
During surgery, your inner nose is reshaped for improvement in the dynamics of airflow.
Below are some surgery options you could go with, for your collapsed nasal valves.
So, let’s dive right in!
It is the surgery option which is least invasive and highly effective in the long run.
The surgery uses Latera implant, which is a small beam-like structure made up of an absorbable polymer.
How is Latera performed?
A unique needle-shaped device is used to insert the Latera implant inside your nose.
This implant helps to support your upper and lower cartilage present at the lateral wall of your nose.
Below is a video showing the implantation of Latera. The implantation is performed by a qualified otolaryngologist (Specialist of Ear, Nose, and Throat).
During a study done on 396 patients using Bio-absorbable Implant (Latera), it was found that Latera also showed significant improvement in QoL.
Since this treatment is done without making an incision so Latera patients should avoid pinching and blowing their nose.
They also should take special care of their nose for about a week or two after the procedure.
If you want more detailed information on Latera, feel free to visit Latera.Com.
2. Structural Cartilage Grafting/ Alar Batten Grafting:
This treatment option is so prevalent that when it comes to treating collapsed nasal valves, ordinary people think it to be the only go-to option.
A study was done for about 7-years in which 107 patients underwent alar batten grafting.
The patients chosen for this study had nasal obstruction caused by INVI (Internal Nasal Valve Incompetence).
The result of this surgery was so amazing, that I can’t wait anymore to share with you. And here it is!
Among all 107 patients;
→ 91% reported improvement in Nasal Blockage and
→ 88% showed an increase in their QoL (Quality of Life)
The maximum improvement was seen at six months following the surgery. The conclusion drawn out from the above study was:
Alar Batten Graft Is A Highly Effective Technique for Treating INVI And the Outcomes Produced Are Satisfactory.
Since nasal valve collapse affects your health negatively, this surgery doesn’t come under the cosmetic and elective insurance category.
And thus here’s a piece of good news for you, it gets covered under most of the health insurance plans.
How is Alar Batten Grafting performed?
First, the thing you should know is, What are alar batten grafts?
Alar batten grafts are flat, oval-shaped pieces made from cartilage taken from your body.
Most of the times cartilage are taken from your nasal septum, but if complications arise there, they may take it from your ears or ribs.
Surgeons insert this graft during rhinoplasty. If it is a closed rhinoplasty, then a small incision is made inside your nose to create little pockets on each side.
The size of this pocket is made based upon the size of the graft. Then with the help of forceps, the graft is inserted inside the pocket. And that’s all, the surgeons do.
Else, if the rhinoplasty is an open one, then it is placed directly by operating the area which needs additional strength.
This is performed through the outer exposed surface of your nose.
The main motive of this method is to add structure and support to your sidewall (lateral one) and valves which are collapsed.
Are Alar Batten Grafts Visible?
Mostly no, and sometimes yes. Alar batten grafts get visible as they get placed within your skin and occasionally also lift the nose outward.
So, you feel the grafts in place.
Nasal Valve Collapse Before and After
Here’s a view, how the nasal valve looks before and after its treatment.
Which treatment option is the best?
I know, the fixes mentioned above for nasal valve collapse, would have confused you for once.
If you are stuck with, which option should you go with, then consider having an appointment with your doctor? Your doctor would suggest the best fit for you.
Post-surgery Tips For Smooth Recovery
The expected recovery period of the surgery is about 7 -10 days. If the operation involves rhinoplasty or septoplasty (surgery for deviated septum), then the recovery period is a bit longer than expected.
Medications for pain are given based on the patient’s requirement. Still, some tips could help you make your recovery smooth.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts aiding to your recovery. You must practice them while you are in the resting period.
✔ Sleeping with Your Head Elevated To Hasten Recovery
✔ Regularly Following Your Doctor’s Advice
✔ Attending Post-Operative Appointment Sessions for Healing Well and Quality Aftercare
✘ Do Not Do Yoga Involving Your Nose or Making You Breathe Faster
✘ Do Not Neglect Even A Bit of Nose Bleeding, Consult Your Doctor Immediately
✘ Do Not Engage in High-Intensity Activities Such as Sports
✘ Do Not Take Ibuprofen or Aspirin (Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), As They Prevent Blood Clotting and Make You Bleed Excessively. [For Safe Medication Consult Your Doctor]
Adarsh Kumar is the guy behind the growing Health & Wellness blog Health On Planet. He is a 5 years old veteran of the Health Industry with previous expertise as a health writer for several other blogs. He provides his readers with articles about surgery, nutrition, and wellness related aspects.