LA CROSSE, Wis. ― Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse is now offering a new procedure to help patients with these issues. The Latera absorbable nasal implant is a new, minimally invasive treatment for nasal obstruction caused by internal nasal valve collapse. It uses a 2-centimeter absorbable implant to increase airflow and relieve symptoms.
A nose is an important and complicated structure. The nose serves many functions, including filtering, humidifying and warming the air you breathe, and providing a sense of smell that is important for taste, odor identification and memory. At times, the nose can get congested, making it difficult to breathe and affecting taste. For some people, the feeling of a stuffy or blocked nose doesn't go away, even when they otherwise feel healthy. That may be due to a nasal obstruction.
"Nasal obstruction occurs when the airflow through your nose is blocked in some way," says David Valencia, M.D., an otorhinolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Onalaska and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. "This could be caused by swelling of your nasal passages due to a cold; allergies; or exposure to irritants, such as smoke or dust. Other people experience nasal obstruction because of a structural issue. A common structural cause of restricted nasal breathing is internal nasal valve collapse."
Dr. Valencia says that nasal obstruction can cause uncomfortable symptoms and lead to chronic headaches, dental decay, bad breath, difficulty breathing while exercising and poor sleep quality. It also can exacerbate snoring. Symptoms are often attributed to other conditions, such as allergies, viral illness or sinusitis. Unlike those conditions, nasal valve collapse doesn't resolve after the illness is over or change during the seasons.
"During the procedure, the patient will sit in an examination chair, and the inside of the nose will be numbed with a local anesthetic," Dr. Valencia explains. "A hollow tube containing the implant is inserted into the outside wall of the nose. When the tube's tip reaches its target ― typically the area just below where eyeglasses rest ― the implant is released in its supporting position, and the tube is removed. The implant is made of polydioxanone, which has been used in absorbable sutures and other medical applications for decades."
Over the next 18 months, the implant will be absorbed by the patient's body and replaced with naturally occurring collagen. This results in continued support of the lateral nasal wall and airflow.
In a clinical study, patients' nasal symptoms were reduced two years after the procedure. They experienced:
- Reduced nasal congestion or stuffiness
- Less trouble breathing through the nose
- Improved ability to get enough air through the nose during exercise or exertion
- Reduced nasal blockage or obstruction
- Less trouble sleeping
"You can resume regular activities the next day. You may have mild bruising and inflammation, but these issues should resolve quickly. You and others will not be able to see the implant through your skin, and it will not change the shape of your nose," says Dr. Valencia.
The first step is to schedule a consultation with an otorhinolaryngologist to determine if you would benefit from the procedure. People who have found exterior nasal strips beneficial in reducing symptoms are likely good candidates for an absorbable nasal implant. Talk with your Primary Care professional or otorhinolaryngologist if you have nasal obstruction and think an implant can help.
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Press ContactRick Thiesse