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For so many people, a stuffy nose or difficulty breathing is a daily fact of life. Besides the congestion, or issues caused by allergies or illness, there is a condition known as nasal airway obstruction (NAO) that causes chronic stuffiness and breathing problems. At Acadian Ear, Nose, Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery Center, we are proud to offer Latera, a new option to alleviate NAO symptoms, helping our patients to breathe easily and freely once again.
What is Nasal Airway Obstruction (NAO)?
Nasal airway obstruction (NAO) is a condition that decreases or completely blocks the flow of air through the nasal cavity. Living with NAO can have a negative impact on your activity level and overall quality of life. If you experience any of the following symptoms, NAO may be the cause:
- Constant stuffiness or congestion
- Difficulty breathing during exercise or exertion
- Improved breathing by gently pulling your cheek away from your nose (known as the Cottle Maneuver)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Improved breathing with the use of Breathe Right® strips
There are a variety of factors that contribute to decreased airflow through the nose, from allergies to medical conditions to structural abnormalities within the nasal cavity. The most common structural reasons for nasal blockages are:
- Septum Deviation – the cartilage between the nostrils is bent or off-center
- Turbinate Hypertrophy – enlargement of the three bony bumps on each side of the nasal cavity
- Lateral Wall Collapse – the side walls of the nose are weak or too flexible and cave in toward the septum
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms or conditions, Latera may be the answer for you. Latera is a new treatment option for patients suffering from NAO. It is a small, absorbable implant that improves airflow through the nose by providing stability to the lateral (side) walls of the nose. Latera can be used alone, or in conjunction with other nasal surgeries, to improve breathing and reduce NAO symptoms in patients.
What is Latera?
Latera is a small, flexible implant that is inserted into the lateral wall of the nose to provide support to the upper and lower cartilage. By shoring up the lateral wall and not allowing it to cave in or obstruct the nasal cavity, airflow is unobstructed, breathing is improved, and NAO symptoms are decreased or eliminated altogether. Latera will not change the shape of your nose.
The Latera implant is one millimeter in diameter and 24 millimeters long—about the size of the needle on a one-inch safety pin. Its “Y” shaped tip helps anchor it into the lateral wall. Latera is made of a unique, flexible material that is slowly absorbed by the body over the course of approximately 18 months. Over time, tissue will grow around the implant, adding stability to the implant and the lateral wall. As the implant is absorbed by the body, collagen and new tissue take its place, giving strength to the space that was once occupied by the implant. The collagen will remain in the lateral wall, reinforcing it and promoting airflow in the nasal cavity.
The Latera procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, using local or general anesthesia, depending on what you and your surgeon have discussed prior to surgery. Once you are comfortable and your nose has been cleaned and prepped for the procedure, your surgeon will make specific calculations to determine the precise insertion point and trajectory of the implant.
A special delivery device, unique to Latera, is used to insert the implant just inside the nostril, along the lateral wall. When the desired depth and orientation are reached, the surgeon will push a button on the delivery device to deploy the Latera implant. The “Y” at the end of the implant will expand, anchoring the implant into the lateral wall. The surgeon will slowly withdraw the delivery device, leaving the implant behind. The entire procedure takes approximately ten minutes.
Because Latera is a minimally invasive procedure, patients experience few, if any, side effects. Immediately following the placement of the implant, some patients report mild swelling and bruising, slight discomfort and awareness of the implant. This is normal and subsides quickly in most patients. Of course, each patient is unique, as is each surgery, thus you may experience different side effects. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your surgeon to ensure that the implant is working safely and effectively.
While there are no incisions or stitches with Latera, it is important to be protective of your nose in the days immediately following the implant procedure. Over the next month, don’t blow, pinch, or move your nose from side to side. Avoid exercise or strenuous activity. Don’t put anything inside of your nose. Taking these precautions ensures that Latera can properly embed in the lateral wall of the nose.
Immediate Results and Lasting Benefits
Most patients notice an immediate improvement in their ability to breathe through their nose. As the swelling in the area dissipates following the surgery, you should experience continued improvement in airflow. Most patients are extremely satisfied with Latera and report better overall breathing, improved breathing while exercising, reduced congestion and better sleep. Latera provides lasting results that can improve your quality of life, with minimal discomfort or alterations to your appearance.
If you are struggling to breathe and think that you may suffer from nasal airway obstruction, let the experienced surgeons at Acadian Ear, Nose, Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery Center help. Call our office today at (337) 237-0650 to schedule a consultation and learn how Latera can help you start breathing better.