What Happens in a Nasal Endoscopy?

Rhinosinusitis is one of the most common reasons for a nasal endoscopy. You may have symptoms such as nasal blockage, yellow or greenish fluid from your nose, and facial pain. Usually, having a nasal endoscopy detects swelling and nasal polyps.

Whether you’ve experienced a nasal endoscopy or not, knowing what to expect may help the process go more smoothly, so we’ve put together some useful information to know before going for your endoscopy.


What is a nasal endoscopy?

A nasal endoscopy is a procedure to look at the nasal and sinus passages. It’s done with an endoscope. This is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light. An ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) will often do this procedure in his or her office.

The sinuses are a group of spaces formed by the bones of your face. They connect with your nasal cavity. This is the air-filled space behind your nose.

During the procedure, the otolaryngologist inserts the endoscope into your nose and guides it through your nasal and sinus passages. Images of the area can be seen through the endoscope. This can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions. In some cases, small tools may be used to take tiny samples of tissue or do other tasks.


Why might I need a nasal endoscopy?

You might need a nasal endoscopy if your doctor needs more information about problems such as:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal blockage
  • Nasal and sinus infection (rhinosinusitis)
  • Nasal polyps
  • Nasal tumors
  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of ability to smell
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak


The endoscopy can show specific details, such as the site of bleeding and swelling of nasal tissue. It can also be used to look at growths.

In some cases, a nasal endoscopy can be used as a treatment. For example, it may be done on a child to remove a foreign object from his or her nose.

Your doctor might also advise an endoscopy to see how a treatment for a nose or sinus problem is working. For example, it can show if nasal polyps have shrunk.


How do I prepare for a nasal endoscopy?

Ask your doctor if you should stop taking any medicines before the procedure. You should be able to eat and drink normally before the procedure. Your doctor may give you more instructions about what to do beforehand.

Just before the procedure, a topical decongestant may be sprayed into your nose. This helps to reduce swelling and lets the nasal endoscope pass easily through your nasal cavity and sinuses. Your nose may also be sprayed with an anaesthetic, which will briefly numb your nose.


What happens during a nasal endoscopy?

For the procedure, you will probably sit upright in an exam chair.

After numbing the area, your doctor will insert the endoscope into one side of your nose.

You may find this a little uncomfortable. If so, let your doctor know. You may need more numbing medicine or a smaller nasal endoscope.

In one nostril, your provider will push the endoscope forward to view a part of the nasal cavity and sinuses.

He or she may repeat this step 2 more times on the same side of your nose. (Each pass allows your doctor to see a slightly different part of your nasal cavity and sinuses.)

Your doctor may then repeat the procedure on the opposite side of your nose. Again, he or she may need a few passes of the scope to get the needed information.

If needed, your doctor may also remove a tissue sample as part of the endoscopy.


What happens after a nasal endoscopy?

The nasal endoscopy often provides the information needed to create a treatment plan. You might discuss this with your doctor right after your endoscopy. In other cases, he or she might want to order more tests, like a CT scan. If you had tissue taken during your procedure, these results may take a few days to come back.

It’s important that you follow all of your doctor’s instructions about medicines and follow-up. In many cases, your doctor will want to schedule another nasal endoscopy in the future to see how your treatment has progressed.


If you’re having problems with your ears, nose or throat, a private ENT specialist consultant can assess and diagnose your condition, as well as advising you on the best possible treatments and diagnostics. At Pall Mall, we offer private ENT appointments and services. Click here for more information or call us on 03300 58 44 55.

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