Nasal endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that physicians use to view the inside of the nasal cavity and the entrance to the sinuses. It can be useful in diagnosing conditions such as infections or polyps.
A nasal endoscope is a tube-like instrument that can be rigid or flexible. It is inserted through the nostril after a nasal decongestant or numbing medicine has been applied topically in a patient’s nose. The endoscope is unable to enter the sinus cavities themselves, but it is used to examine the sinus openings.
The endoscope is equipped with small lights and cameras that enable the physician and the patient to view and record the terrain of the inner nose. Nasal or sinus-related problems can be identified by viewing the very detailed video or pictures recorded by an endoscope. The endoscope is also capable of taking a tissue sample from inside the nasal cavity that may be used for analysis and further diagnosis.
Nasal endoscopy is very safe, but it is also expensive. It is therefore usually reserved for diagnosing chronic and recurrent rhinosinusitis (sinus infection) and for seeing the differences between allergies and acute sinus problems. There are a number of other circumstances, however, for which a nasal endoscopy may be recommended. For instance, it may be performed to diagnose the cause of the loss of the sense of smell.
A nasal endoscopy does not require any special precautions to be taken prior to the procedure. While the procedure is low-risk, gagging, nosebleeds or coughing may occur as the endoscope is threaded through a nostril.