Nasal Polyps

A nasal polyp is a soft, painless, benign (noncancerous) growth that grows from the lining of the nose or sinuses. They usually hang down like teardrops or grapes in the nasal cavity. Polyps usually occur in both the right and left nasal passages. Small nasal polyps may not cause symptoms but larger polyps or groups of polyps can cause nasal congestion. They can make your nose feel stuffy, lead to frequent sinus infections and can decrease your sense of smell. If you think you may have nasal polyps please call San Diego Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists to schedule an appointment.

What Are Nasal Polyps

Nasal PolypsNasal polyps can affect anyone. Nasal polyps are associated with irritation and swelling (inflammation) of the lining of your nasal passages and sinuses. People with chronic hay fever (allergic rhinitis) are more likely than others to develop nasal polyps. People with nasal polyps and asthma often are allergic to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Your doctor will take a thorough medical history and then perform an exam on your nose. Nasal polyps usually can be seen on physical examination inside of the nose by doing a nasal endoscopy. This is when a small camera is inserted into your nose to attain a view of your nasal cavity looking for any abnormalities. A CT scan may be ordered to help pinpoint the size and location of polyps in deeper areas of your sinuses. These studies may also help your doctor to rule out other possible blockages in your nasal cavities, such as structural abnormalities or another type of cancerous or noncancerous growth.


The first-line treatment for nasal polyps is topical nasal steroids. Steroids decrease inflammation which helps decrease the size of the polyps and to improve symptoms of nasal congestion. They may also recommend nasal saltwater (saline) rinses to help clean your sinuses.  If drug treatment doesn’t shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, you may need endoscopic sinus surgery.

Endoscopic sinus surgery is when the surgeon inserts an endoscope into your nostrils and guides it into your sinus cavities then uses tiny instruments inside the nasal cavity to remove polyps and possibly enlarge the opening of your sinuses to your nasal passages. Endoscopic surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure.