Nasal Valve Collapse

Lateral-Wall-CollapseNasal valve collapse (NVC), also known as nasal valve stenosis, is one of the most common causes of nasal obstruction, along with related culprits such as septal deviation, and turbinate enlargement.

Obstruction from NVC happens as you inhale and the cartilage in your nose caves inward, blocking your airway.


Typical signs of nasal valve collapse include nasal congestion and pronounced difficulty in breathing inward from the nose.

Patients with nasal valve collapse may have a difficult time breathing during physical activities, as though they have a clothespin on their nostrils. Keep in mind, some NVC is expected during strenuous activities, but significant obstruction shouldn’t occur.

Additionally, patients may also find it especially hard to breathe while lying down, which creates a tendency to breathe through their mouth. This could result in snoring and poor sleep quality, which has further implications.


Nasal valve collapse usually occurs due to weak lateral cartilage in the sidewall of the nose due to age-related atrophy or injury to the nose. Additional reasons that this problem may develop include:

  • Scar tissue
  • Inflammation
  • Enlarged tissue

Nasal valve collapse can get worse over time due to continued weakening of the nasal structure, leading to further narrowing and difficulty breathing.


An accurate diagnosis is key to providing an effective treatment plan for NVC.

  • Careful review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms
  • Nasal endoscopy to rule out other conditions that have the same symptoms
  • Cottle Maneuver test to determine if the most significant site of nasal obstruction is the valve or farther inside the nasal cavity


NVC has been significantly under-treated before now because conventional methods often required grafting cartilage from another part of the body. This outdated process failed to address underlying anatomical issues that might contribute to a collapsed nasal wall, and it also risked changing the appearance of the nose.

Advanced surgical techniques now available include: