Nasal polyps are tissue swellings within the nose that can profoundly impact one’s quality of life. They occur as part of a spectrum of a condition called chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). They frequently run in families and can also be associated with conditions such as asthma.
Left untreated, symptoms include nasal blockage, nasal discharge and catarrh, reduced or absent sense of smell, sneezing and facial pressure. Nasal polyps are not typically painful and do not tend to bleed. Chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyps are best managed through a combination of nasal steroid drops, nasal irrigation and sometimes antibiotics.
For many patients who do not improve with medical management alone, endoscopic sinus surgery may become necessary. This is to improve the sinus drainage pathways, to remove the polyps and to enable medications to get in to the sinuses more effectively. It is important to note that sinus surgery itself is usually an adjunct to medical management and the majority of patients will need saline nasal irrigation and nasal steroids in the long-term to help keep the polyps at bay.