Nasal obstruction, or trouble breathing through the nose, can be challenging to treat because there are multiple potential causes. Each of these causes has their own series of treatments, and often multiple treatments for nasal obstruction may be required in the same patient. One common source of nasal obstruction is collapse of the sides of the nose during breathing, a phenomenon also called nasal valve collapse. The Latera implant was recently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of nasal obstruction and is an exciting new development in the field. As a new device, relatively few surgeons are certified to use the Latera implant, and I am excited to offer it to my patients.
Patients with collapse of the sides of the nose while breathing can use a nasal dilator, such as the Breathe Right strip. This can address collapse of the sides of the nose while it is worn, but there can be some problems:
- the strips can fail to stick to the nasal skin or, conversely, can irritate the skin of the nose
- it is generally only worn at night, leaving a patient with untreated nasal obstruction during the day
The Latera implant avoids these issues. They help with nasal obstruction at all times of the day, and there is no issue of any adhesive issues. A surgeon places the implants inside the side walls of the nose during a procedure in the office or operating room. There is only limited swelling or bruising, and the recovery is relatively mild. One important limitation is that the implant material is absorbed time, so patients may experience less benefit after the first 2 years following the procedure. There are other procedures to treat nasal valve collapse, mainly involving placement of cartilage within the sides of the nose that can make the nose appear slightly fuller in middle. The Latera implant is exciting because patients have an easier recovery and very little change in the external appearance of the nose.
Is the Latera implant right for me?
If you have nasal obstruction and are wondering if the Latera implant is right for you, watch yourself in the mirror while breathing in. If the sides of your nose collapse when you breathe in, then nasal valve collapse may be an important part of your nasal obstruction. If you are interested in something other than a Breathe Right strip or similar device, then you should find a surgeon who has received the training to use this device. My colleagues and I at the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery are among the relatively few surgeons who have had this training. Please feel free to reach out if you are interested in learning more.