Nasal Polyps


Nasal polyps are grape-like swellings of the lining of the sinonasal cavities. It is not clear why some people with chronic sinusitis develop polyps and others don’t.

Polyps can cause a blocked nose and a reduction/loss of one’s sense of smell. A patient with polyps may constantly sound ‘bunged up’ when they speak. They may have to breathe through their mouth constantly, which can lead to a dry mouth, especially on waking up in the morning.

Polyps are almost always related to inflammation of the sinuses, and can make the sinusitis worse by blocking the drainage of the sinuses. Therefore, patients with polyps often also have symptoms of sinusitis too.

Occasionally, tumours of the nose and sinuses can look similar to nasal polyps. The presence of polyps on only one side of the nose raises suspicion, and should be investigated by a specialist endoscopic sinus surgeon. A biopsy may need to be taken, either in the clinic or in theatre, with a view to proceeding to further surgery if appropriate.

If a patient’s only symptoms are a blocked nose, and this is because of the polyps, the polyps can be removed in the clinic setting. This avoids the need for courses of oral steroids and for a general anaesthetic.

To see a video of a Mr Sunkaraneni performing a polypectomy procedure in the clinic, click here.

Page last updated on 6th July 2012.