Nasal Valve Collapse | Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Nasal Valve Collapse Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Nasal valve collapse, a common cause of nasal obstruction, can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life by making breathing difficult. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for nose valve collapse, shedding light on both internal and external nasal valve collapse. Let’s delve into this intricate condition and its management.

What Is Nasal Valve Collapse?

Nasal valve collapse, medically known as nasal valve stenosis, occurs when the narrow part of the airway, the nasal valve, weakens and collapses inward. This condition affects one or both sides of the nose and can lead to significant breathing difficulties. Typically, patients experience nose valve collapse following rhinoplasty or due to a deviated septum.

Types of Nasal Valve Collapse

Nasal valve collapse can manifest in two primary forms:

Internal Valve Nose Collapse

The internal nasal valve is the central passageway within the nose. When this area collapses, it obstructs the airflow, making breathing challenging.

External Nasal Valve Collapse

The external nasal valve, located near the nostrils, is responsible for regulating airflow during inhalation. When it collapses, it can lead to visible nostril distortion and increased breathing difficulties.

What Causes A Nasal Valve Collapse?

Nasal valve collapse can be attributed to various factors, weakening the supporting structures of the nasal valve. These factors include:

  • Traumatic Injury: Physical trauma to the nose can weaken the cartilage and tissues that support the nasal valve.
  • Previous Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty): Nasal valve collapse can occur as a postoperative complication following rhinoplasty.
  • Scar Tissue: The formation of scar tissue within the nasal passages can narrow the airway and contribute to collapse.
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation within the nasal cavity can weaken the nasal valve’s structural integrity.
  • Age-Related Atrophy: With age, the nasal tissues may undergo atrophy, further contributing to collapse.

Risk Factors of Nose Valve Collapse

Certain factors increase the risk of nasal valve collapse:

  • Deviated Septum: Most individuals with internal valve nose collapse also have a deviated septum, which can lead to an uneven nasal structure.
  • Anatomical Characteristics: Narrow nostrils, an over-projecting nose, and a widened columella may increase the risk of internal as well as external nasal valve collapse.
  • Nose Job: Rhinoplasty can sometimes lead to mild narrowing, contributing to nasal valve collapse.

Signs of Nasal Valve Collapse

Recognizing the signs of this disorder is crucial in seeking timely treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty Breathing: Patients may experience difficulty inhaling through the nose, especially during physical activities.
  • Mouth Breathing: Nose valve collapse can lead to mouth breathing during the day and snoring at night.
  • Nasal Congestion: A persistent stuffy nose that doesn’t improve, despite various remedies.
  • Visual Changes: In some cases, nasal valve collapse can alter the appearance of the nose, causing it to appear thinner or asymmetrical.

How Can A Nasal Valve Collapse Get Worse?

It has the potential to worsen over time. The weakening of the nasal valve’s supporting structures can lead to further narrowing and increased breathing difficulties. While not every case progresses, there is a risk for continued deterioration.

How To Diagnose Nasal Valve Collapse

Accurate diagnosis is essential for developing an effective treatment plan for this disorder, especially internal valve nose collapse. Diagnosing this condition typically involves the following steps:

  • Medical History and Symptom Review: A thorough review of the patient’s medical history and reported symptoms.
  • Nasal Endoscopy: This procedure involves using an endoscope to examine the nasal passages and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
  • Cottle Maneuver Test: This test involves gently pulling the cheek laterally to open the nasal valve and determine if it is the primary site of obstruction.

Nasal Valve Stenosis Treatment Options

While conservative treatment options are limited for internal as well as external nasal valve collapse, various surgical techniques are available to address this condition. The choice of treatment depends on the patient’s specific situation and may include:

  • Cartilage Graft: Using cartilage grafts to fortify the nasal structure and widen the narrowed area.
  • Nasal Ridge Broadening: Widening the middle area of the nose to create more space for airflow.
  • Sutures: Utilizing sutures to lift the nasal structure, opening the nasal passages for easier breathing.
  • Permanent Sutures: In some cases, permanent sutures may be used to ensure long-term stability.

How Can A Cartilage Graft Help A Nose Valve Collapse?

Cartilage grafts are a common treatment for nasal valve collapse. These grafts, often referred to as spreader or spacer grafts, are inserted between the septum and the upper lateral cartilage in the nasal passage. This new structure widens the narrowed area, improving both respiration and the nose’s symmetry and appearance.

How Can A Nasal Ridge Broadening Help A Nasal Valve Collapse?

Nasal ridge broadening involves widening the middle area of the nose using graft material. This procedure creates additional space for air to pass through the nostrils, alleviating the breathing difficulties associated with internal nasal valve collapse.

How Can Sutures Help A Nasal Valve Collapse?

Sutures can be used to repair collapsed nasal valves by securing the valve area to the bone tissue just under the eye. This connection lifts the nasal structure upward and outward, effectively opening the nasal passages for easier breathing. While polyglycolic acid sutures dissolve over time, they tend to stabilize the nasal valve by promoting submucosal scar tissue formation along the suture tract. In some cases, permanent suture materials may be preferred to ensure long-term stability.

Nasal Valve Collapse: Outlook and Prognosis

Nose valve collapse can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, making effective treatment essential. Most individuals report improvement in their symptoms following surgical intervention. While not all cases progress, untreated nasal valve collapse can lead to continued weakening of the nasal structures.

Living With Nasal Valve Collapse

Living with internal or external nasal valve collapse can be challenging, but effective treatment options are available. If you suspect you have nasal valve collapse, consider the following questions to discuss with your healthcare provider:

  • Severity Assessment: Understand the severity of your condition to determine the appropriate treatment.
  • Surgical Recommendations: Inquire about the recommended surgical procedures and their potential benefits.
  • Risks and Success Rate: Discuss the potential risks associated with surgery and the expected success rate.
  • Recovery Time: Understand the estimated recovery period following surgical intervention.


In conclusion, nasal valve collapse can significantly impact an individual’s ability to breathe comfortably. With the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment, individuals suffering from nose valve collapse can regain their quality of life and experience improved respiratory function. In your pursuit of better breathing, Dr. Simple Bhadania, our skilled ENT Specialist and surgeon in Ahmedabad, stands ready to provide expert guidance.
Choose a life of unburdened breaths – schedule a consultation with Dr. Simple Bhadania and embark on your path to clearer airways. Your journey to revitalized breathing begins today.