Taking a look at the airflow that happens in the respiratory system, it is easy to see that it is very important to have airflow resistance in order to have a good pulmonary function. Over half of this resistance comes from our noses. The most resistance occurs in the anterior part of the nose. This is called the nasal valve and it acts like a flow limiter.
The nasal floor, nasal all and the middle of the nose called the columella make up the external nasal valve. During inhalation the nasalis muscle expands the external valve. Typically, when referring to the ‘nasal valve’ it is the internal nasal valve area that is being talked about. This is where the flow resistance is created. This resides in the area between the nasal septum and mobile side cartilage of the nose. When air moves through the narrow valve a narrow pressure is created and then the valve collapses. Once the inhale becomes the exhale which is where the negative pressure releases and then the passage opens back to its original position. This nasal valve collapse can be fixed, dynamic or both.
These causes can be aging, iatrogenic causes, congenital or secondary after a trauma. The structure of the nose can become weakened and/or could result in a decreased cross-sectional portion of the nasal valve after a reduction rhinoplasty. Another cause for a narrow valve is a deviated septum.
Temporary Vestibular Stenosis Repair
Often multiple solutions will be required in order to fix this condition. One simple solution is through the use of prosthetic splints like springs that are taped to the outside of the nose and wire or plastic basked in the nose. While this will clear breathing for sleep or exercise it doesn’t offer a solution for a social situation.
Nasal Collapse Surgery
One of the most common choices for a correction is to have surgery in order to alter the internal nasal valve. Doing so requires that a spreader graft is placed between the upper lateral cartilage and the septum. This allows a correction in the lower margin of the upper lateral cartilage and therefore will widen the nasal vault.
People who have a more severe external or internal valve collapse may have additional correctional procedures done in order to boost results of the spreader grafts.
Other procedures and techniques have been known to help correct this ailment. While many have their good points, they also come with limitations. A nasal valve collapse can be complex and it takes a practitioner who is well versed in several procedures in order to have a successful repair.