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Nasal obstruction occurs when something is blocking the nasal passages on either one or both sides of the nose.
Nasal blockage has many causes. These include:
Nasal obstruction can occur in any age group, but certain causes are more common in children of certain ages.
Nasal obstruction in infants is most often caused by nasal tissue swelling, but may also result from blockage from bone narrowing, incomplete development of the nasal cavity or blockage by a tear duct cyst.
Toddlers are most likely to have nasal obstruction from nasal tissue swelling or adenoid (the tissue at the back of the nasal passage) enlargement.
Adolescents are more likely to have obstruction from nasal tissue swelling likely related to allergies, adenoid enlargement, septal deviation (crooked middle nose bone or cartilage), inferior turbinate (which filters and moistens air) enlargement, nasal polyps (small growths in the nasal passage), and very rarely, tumors. Tumors are rare and will usually present with other signs and symptoms.
Common symptoms of nasal obstruction in children include:
The signs and symptoms of nasal obstruction are well-known by most people and usually temporary. Other symptoms such as nose bleeds, headaches, pain and bad odor can be helpful in understanding the underlying cause of nasal blockage, but are less common.
Our care team will use the appropriate test or combination of tests based on your child's symptoms and medical history. Common tactics for diagnosis include:
It takes about an hour for our pediatric specialists to evaluate your child's chronic nasal blockage. Here's what to expect during your appointment:
Our pediatric specialist will provide treatment recommendations based on your child's age and the underlying causes of their nasal obstruction. Our care team members have completed extra training for nasal conditions in children and will help you determine the best treatment for your child.
For less serious conditions, such as congestion and swelling, common treatments include:
Surgery is often the best option for more serious structural issues involving the structures of the nose and face. Our care teams choose surgical options based on the location and cause of the obstruction. Providers typically recommend surgery when other medical therapy isn't effective.
Surgical treatments include:
We are relentlessly dedicated to making children feel better. Our care team members, from imaging specialists to doctors, are trained specifically in children's nasal conditions.
We want to provide relief for your child – whether they are uncomfortable from temporary congestion or swelling or have a more serious issue with their nasal structure. Our team has experience treating both common and rare conditions in children. We understand the unique aspects of each age group of children and can provide them an accurate diagnosis and effective care plan.
We use equipment, such as an endoscope, that is specifically designed to be more accurate and comfortable for children. To minimize the risk of cumulative radiation exposure we also use the lowest possible levels of radiation for X-rays and CT scans.
We also partner with your family from diagnosis through treatment and help coordinate any follow-up care with our specialists or your primary doctor.