ZocdocAnswersI have nasal polyps high in my nose. What should I do?

Question

I have nasal polyps high in my nose. What should I do?

I have nasal polyps high in my nose, an ENT surgeon has recommended not to have surgery to remove as I could permanently lose my sense of smell. I take steroid drops every day which helps but I do have to take prednisalone now and then to bring my sense of smell back this sometimes gives me a strange smell in my nose. I have had nasal polyps removed 20 years ago that were lower in my nose. Should I get a second opinion on having the polyps removed that are higher up?

Answer

Unfortunately, your ENT doctor is right that one of the complications of nasal polyp removal surgery can be a disturbance in smell function. This is especially the case of the polyps are very high up inside the nose. Most of the time polyps are caused by chronic inflammation or irritation inside the nose, such as might develop from chronic nasal allergies or sinus problems. Therefore an anti inflammatory treatment, such as the prednisolone drops you are using, might be part of an effective therapy. However, it would be worth touching base with your doctor about this again, either your primary care doctor or your ENT doctor, to see if there are additional treatments that might be needed to maximize the healing. Also, rarely, chronic nasal polyps are sometimes a sign of another underlying medical condition, such as cystic fibrosis, which can sometimes be diagnosed late in life with no other major symptoms. This is something else that it might be worth asking your primary care doctor about. Finally, if no treatments with medications are effective, then you can go back to the ENT doctor to reevaluate whether or not surgery makes sense in your case after all. Good luck!

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