Nasal endoscopy is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure performed to view the nasal and sinus packages. Nasal endoscopy provides a clear picture of the interior elements of the tissue or organs, allowing the physicians to access some hidden cavities of the body. These cavities are not ordinarily visible during a normal examination procedure.
Nasal endoscopy is also known as Rhinoscopy. It is performed with the help of a nasal endoscope, which is a rigid, thin tube that contains fibre-optic cables, mounted with light. This endoscope is connected to a camera, which projects the magnified images on a screen, allowing the physician to better assess the problem.
The procedure of a nasal endoscopy
In a nasal endoscopy, the physician inserts the endoscope into the nose of the patient by guiding it through the nasal and sinus passages. The endoscope then provides the internal images, helping the doctor make a diagnosis and understand the treatment for the issue detected. In other cases, a nasal endoscopy can also be used to collect tiny samples of tissue or perform other non-invasive tasks.
The requirement of a nasal endoscopy
A person who is experiencing symptoms and issues, such as below, can require a nasal endoscopy:
- Nasal congestion
- Blockage in the nose
- Nasal polyps
- Infection in the nose
- Sinus issue
- Bleeding on the nose
- Nasal tumours
- Loss of smell
- Cerebrospinal fluid leak
- Facial pain, especially around the sinuses and the part above the eyes
An endoscopy can also provide specific details about the bleeding area and if there is any swelling inside the nose. Moreover, it can also be used to check for growth that might be cancer. Nasal endoscopy can also be used to treat a condition such as, remove a foreign object from the nose. This problem can be used to see the effectiveness of the treatment.
Preparation of a nasal endoscopy
To prepare for nasal endoscopy, the patient must confirm about precautions of the procedure. The physician will advise the patient to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, to minimize the complications from the surgery. The person is allowed to drink and eat before the procedure. Depending on case-to-case, the healthcare provider will instruct about some special precautions.
The procedure of a nasal endoscopy
Before starting the nasal endoscopy, the healthcare professional sprays a topical decongestant into the nose of the patient. This spray helps to minimize swelling and allows the nasal endoscope to pass swiftly through the nasal and sinus cavity. Additionally, in some cases, the physician might also spray an anaesthetic to numb the nose of the patient. In some rare patients, the physician might need to inject an anaesthetic.
The patient will be sitting upright in an examination chair. Once the nose is numbed with the anaesthetic, the healthcare provider will insert the endoscope into one nasal passage. The procedure can make the patient a little uncomfortable. If this happens, the doctor must be informed and the patient can be given a stronger numbing medicine.
Once inserted, the nasal endoscope will be pushed further inside the passage to gain a clear view of the nasal cavity and sinuses. The procedure may be repeated multiple times until the doctor gets all the information required. Once done, the same procedure is repeated in the other nostril. In some cases, the doctor might also extract a part of the nasal tissue to be diagnosed for serious issues, such as cancer.
Post the nasal endoscopy
The patient must talk to the doctor about what to expect after the procedure. In some cases, the physician might have some special instructions. But generally, the patient can go home right after the nasal endoscopy. Also, they can resume normal activities right after the surgery. However, the patient must inform the doctor if they experience any complications such as a nose bleed that recurs or does not go away.
The nasal endoscopy provides the required information to the physician to direct the course of treatment. In some conditions, the doctor might also order certain tests, such as a CT scan, to gain more details. If a sample tissue has been collected, the results may come after a few days.
All instructions provided by the physician regarding precautions, medicines and follow-ups should be taken seriously. The healthcare provider would also schedule a nasal endoscopy in the future to assess the effectiveness of the treatment.
Risks of a nasal endoscopy
Nasal endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure and hence, is considered safe. But some patients might experience a few risks and complications, including:
- Bleeding of nose
- Loss of consciousness
- Allergic reaction to anaesthesia
- Allergic reaction to the decongestant
Moreover, a person with an existing bleeding disorder has a greater risk of bleeding. Also, people who take blood-thinning medications are prone to a higher risk of nose bleeding. However, the risks depend on the age and the general health conditions of the patient.
Overall, nasal endoscopy is a very effective procedure to detect any problems related to the nasal passage and sinuses. This minimally-invasive technique has rare complications and offers a very fast recovery. However, the need for the procedure will be decided by the physician depending on the case.