Make an appointment ➝

What is Nasal Valve Collapse?

Nasal valves, crucial areas within the nose, can sometimes become narrow, leading to breathing difficulties. There are two main types of nasal valves: the “internal” and “external” nasal valves. The external nasal valve corresponds to the nostril and is composed of the ala, the round fleshy area on the sides of the nose, supported by cartilages located in the nose tip. The internal valve resides inside the nose, between the nasal septum and the lowest section of the upper lateral cartilage, which are cartilages located on the sides of the nose.

Understanding Nasal Valve Issues

Numerous factors can cause nasal congestion and blockage, including a deviated septum, enlargement of nasal tissues (known as inferior turbinate hypertrophy), nasal polyps, allergies, and inadequate support on either side of the nose during inhalation. Ideally, the nasal valves should resist airflow when breathing in. However, weakened cartilages can cause one or both nasal valves to collapse inward, resulting in blockages and nasal congestion. It’s not uncommon for blockages to be a combination of these factors. Accurate diagnosis and effective treatment options for nasal valve collapse require a comprehensive evaluation by a specialist.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Collapse

Causes of External Nasal Valve Collapse

External nasal valve collapse is evident when one or both nostrils partially or completely close when inhaling. On the other hand, internal valve collapse may be less noticeable externally but causes significant narrowing in the upper middle portion of the nose during inhalation. To aid in diagnosis, lifting the skin around the nose or using common aids like “Breathe-Rite” strips can alleviate blockages caused by the internal nasal valve. Additionally, you might observe an upside-down triangle under the nasal bones on the outside of your nose, indicating an “inverted-V deformity,” which is more common after nasal trauma or aggressive nasal surgery.

Causes of Internal Nasal Valve Collapse

Weakness or an upward orientation of the cartilages in the nasal tip can lead to narrowing of the external valves during inhalation. If you’ve undergone previous rhinoplasty, the lower lateral cartilages may have been partially removed, weakening the external valves. Conditions such as widening of the skin and cartilage between the nostrils or a deviated septum into one nostril can also contribute to external valve narrowing.

Treatment Options for a Nasal Valve Collapse

Several treatments can alleviate nasal valve collapse. Medications, such as nasal steroids like Flonase and antihistamines like Claritin and Zyrtec, may reduce swelling inside the nose and improve breathing. Nasal saline rinses can cleanse the nose and enhance the feeling of openness. Decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, can reduce nasal swelling. For immediate relief, Breathe-Rite strips can open the valves by exerting outward pressure on the nose. If over-the-counter and prescription medications prove ineffective, nasal valve surgery may be necessary to improve breathing.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of Nasal Valve Collapse in NYC and seeking expert care, contact us today to regain the quality of life you deserve.

Nasal Valve Collapse Surgery Before and After

In Need of a Nasal Valve Collapse Surgery?

Learn More About Nasal Valve Collaps

Meet Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS

Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS is board-certified in head and neck surgery and highly-trained in cosmetic plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. Dr. Mourad is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He treats many conditions, both cosmetic and complex, that affect the head, neck... Learn More »

The Results