Nasal Valve Collapse

Conveniently located to serve Chicago and North Shore

What Is Nasal Valve Collapse?

Nasal valve collapse, also known as nasal valve stenosis, is one of the most common causes of nasal obstruction. When the nasal valve, the narrow part of the airway, weakens it can collapse inward. This affects one or both sides of the nose and causes difficulty breathing. Nasal valve narrowing may develop as a result of trauma, previous surgery or a deviated septum.

Nasal Valve Lateral Wall Collapse

What Causes A Nasal Valve Collapse?

Nasal valve collapse usually occurs due to weakness or injury to the nose. This could be a traumatic injury or previous nose surgery. Additional reasons that this problem may develop include:

  • Scar tissue
  • Inflammation
  • Enlarged tissue
  • Age-related atrophy of the nasal tissue

Signs of Nasal Valve Collapse

Typical signs of nasal valve stenosis include nasal congestion and difficulty in breathing inward from the nose. Patients with nasal valve collapse may have a difficult time breathing during physical activities, as though they have a clothespin on their nostrils. Keep in mind, some nasal valve collapse is expected during strenuous activities, but significant obstruction should not occur. These symptoms can make physical activities more difficult while for others, it may prevent them from participating altogether.

Additionally, patients may also find it especially hard to breathe while lying down, which creates a tendency to breathe through their mouth. This could result in snoring and poor sleep quality, which has further implications. Often these patients seek out remedies such as BREATHE RIGHT® nasal strips for relief, but the source of the problem remains.

Does Nasal Valve Collapse Get Worse?

The nasal valve collapse can get worse over time. This may not happen in every case, but there is a risk for the continued weakening of the nasal structure, leading to further narrowing and difficulty breathing.

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How to Diagnose Nasal Valve Collapse?

An accurate diagnosis is key to providing an effective treatment plan for nasal valve collapse. Dr. Rachel and staff take these steps to diagnose nasal valve collapse:

  • Sinusitis Treatment
  • Carefully review the patient’s medical history and symptoms
  • Perform a nasal endoscopy which will rule out other conditions that have the same symptoms.
  • Conduct a Cottle Maneuver test in where the cheek is gently pulled laterally with one or two fingers to open the valve. This test determines if the most significant site of nasal obstruction is the valve or farther inside the nasal cavity.

Nasal Valve Stenosis Treatment Options

Most people feel better in a few days to a week or two. If symptoms last longer, get worse, or seem to recur, you should see a doctor.

For patients with nasal valve stenosis, there are few conservative treatment options. However, there are several surgical techniques our staff can use to treat nasal valve collapse. The course of treatment will vary by patient and can be one of the following:

  • Cartilage graft
  • Nasal ridge broadening
  • Sutures
  • Permanent Sutures
  • LATERA (nasal valve implant)
Your Nasal Valve Collapse will be performed in Dr. John D. Rachel's surgery center located in North Shore.


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