Empty Nose Syndrome

Empty Nose Syndrome is a potential complication of nasal surgery. It is a disorder that affects the nose and nasal passages. People with this condition will have normal-appearing, clear nasal passages, yet they will experience a wide range of symptoms[1].
A person who has had surgery on their nose or nasal passages may be at risk of developing Empty Nose Syndrome. Procedures to correct or repair the nasal structure can result in scarring. This scarring may reduce the nasal passages having a feeling that they cannot inhale a complete breath through their nose. These patients may also feel they have symptoms of suffocation, which can alter their sleep cycle and drastically reduce their quality of life.

Sometimes there is no direct cause or easy diagnosis of Empty Nose Syndrome. It remains relatively controversial and research tends to suggest that mental health disorders are comorbid with this syndrome[2]. However, many people report similar symptoms to this condition after surgery, which makes Empty Nose Syndrome an important disorder to study and treat. Corrective surgical methods are still experimental.

Additional symptoms of Empty Nose Syndrome may include a feeling that the inhaled air is too dry or too cold, a nasal obstruction, even though the passageways are clear, regular nasal bleeds, extreme dryness or crusting, headaches and dizzyness.

In the medical literature Empty Nose Syndrome is often referred to as a form of secondary atrophic rhinitis.

[1] Coste et al: Empty nose syndrome in European Annals of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Diseases - 2012
[2] Kanjanawasee et al: Empty Nose Syndrome Pathophysiology: A Systematic Review in Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery - 2021

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