Patients seeking cosmetic surgery of the nose, may also have symptoms of nasal obstruction. In fact, it is a very common problem affecting up to one third of the population. The causes of nasal obstruction can be many, and some patients have combination of causes.
Obstruction to airflow through the nose can be due to a physical blockage. Such blockages include a deviated nasal septum, narrowing of the nasal valves, inferior turbinate hypertrophy, enlargement of the nasal swell body or obstruction at the back of the nasal cavity called the choanae.
Sometimes the lining of the nose (mucosa) can be inflamed and swollen leading to a narrowing of the airway.
Sometimes, patients may experience intermittent obstruction moving from one side to the other. This is known as physiological airway narrowing. The physiologic nasal obstruction can be due to the natural nasal cycle, changes to the autonomic nervous system or finally sinonasal inflammatory conditions. These include allergic and non-allergic rhinitis.
Physiological nasal obstruction can usually be managed with medical therapy. However, a physical obstruction more requires surgery to improve airflow.
Managing patient expectations is really important when it comes to nasal obstruction. The aim for patients should be an improvement and not absolute relief of the obstruction.