The nasal valve is the internal aspect of the front the nose; where the greatest resistances to airflow normally occur. The BreathRight strips worn by football players on the field help to keep the nasal valve open during vigorous exercise. Although nasal valve collapse during vigorous inspiration is normal, its collapse during normal breathing is abnormal and can results in nasal blockage, snoring, and mouth breathing. Patients with nasal valve collapse often pull up the cheek on the affected side to breath better.
Nasal valve obstruction is an often-overlooked cause of nasal obstruction. The commonest cause of nasal valve collapse is previous rhinoplasty; followed by nasal trauma, and congenital weakness of the nose cartilages. Examination of patients with nasal valve collapse will show pinching of the nose and dynamic collapse of the nasal sidewalls during inspiration. Individuals with previous rhinoplasty often manifest stigmata of an overdone nose job, including a pinched or over narrowed nose.
Although internal or external stents can improve nasal obstruction from nasal valve collapse, they do not offer a permanent solution to the problem. The most appropriate treatment for nasal valve obstruction involves restoring structural support to this area of the nose. The nasal valve can be divided into an external and an internal portion. The external nasal valve is situated low in the nose in the nasal tip region. The internal nasal valve is higher, in the middle third of the nose. Surgical correction of one or both parts of the nasal valve requires cartilage grafting to add support and stability. In rare occasions when the nostrils were excessively narrowed during cosmetic rhinoplasty, a composite graft of skin and cartilage is used to widen the nostril.
Dr. Khosh is an expert in diagnosis and treatment of nasal valve obstruction. He published one of the first scientific articles, in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, pertaining to management of nasal valve obstruction. Dr. Khosh has lectured nationally and offered seminars on the "Prevention and treatment of nasal valve collapse during rhinoplasty". If you suffer from nasal obstruction following rhinoplasty or nasal trauma, we invite you to schedule a private consultation with Dr. Khosh, to learn about the cause and the treatment options.