Nasal polyps are usually benign, smooth, rounded growths of soft tissue within the nose, typically affecting both sides of the nose. Although medical science is not entirely clear as to why polyps occur, there seems to be a correlation with inflammation, be it from infection, allergy or another source. Importantly, they can worsen any inflammatory picture in the nose by blocking the pathways by which the sinuses drain to the nose. They cause a variety of symptoms, including nasal obstruction, recurrent or chronic sinusitis and facial pressure.
Occasionally, polyps can be seen simply by looking into the front of the nose, but they are usually detected with an endoscope. Similarly, a computer tomography (CT) scan may be necessary to determine the extent of disease and to observe the sinuses hidden by the polyps.
The treatment of nasal polyps usually begins with medication. We typically would start you on a combination of multiple medications, including antibiotics and steroids. Oral steroids are usually effective in shrinking the polyps but can be used only for a short time. Nasal steroid sprays are not as effective as the oral steroids but are safe for long-term use. The combination of the two (short courses of oral steroids and longer courses of nasal steroids) is often most effective. When polyps cannot be adequately treated with medications or cause significant anatomic obstructions, a functional endoscopic sinus surgery is necessary.