Nasal obstruction is anything that impedes the flow of air into and out of the nose. The obstruction may block one or both the nasal passages. It is of particular concern in newborns because at birth, the larynx is situated high in the neck and the neonate knows only how to breathe through his nose. Immediately after birth, the neonatologists puts a small suction catheter into the neonates nostrils and sucks out all secretions to keep the nasal passages patent. This also confirms whether the nasal passages are open and well functioning.
Choanal atresia (blocking at the back of the nose) can affect one or both sides. A CT scan will help in reaching the right diagnosis. Apart from choanal atresia, there could be congenital tumors and masses that can cause nasal obstruction. Nasal polyps in older children and adults are very common and are associated with acute and chronic rhinosinusitis.
Bilateral nasal blockage (atresia) needs immediate surgical intervention.
Unilateral atresia is treated later in life (6 -12 months), unless the infant presents with severe respiratory distress and feeding difficulties.
A nasal mass needs adequate evaluation and is treated either endoscopically or by an external operation. Nasal polyposis is treated by FESS (functional endoscopic sinus surgery).