A nasal dilator is a device used to reduce resistance of the nasal airflow. By lowering the resistance, breathing improves and as a result the oxygen supply into the body increases.
Nasal dilators increase the area of the nasal passage and stiffen the walls of the nose. This decreases airflow resistance and improves airflow through the nose.
Two Types of Nasal Dilator for Deviated Septum
There are two types of nasal dilators: internal and external.
Internal nasal dilators open up the nostrils by pushing apart the soft tissues of the nose:
External nasal dilators (also called “nasal strips”) are placed along the nasal valve (the narrowest part of the nasal airway, located in the middle to lower portion of the nose). These open the nose, allowing more airflow1Internal nasal dilator in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and treated with continuous positive airway pressure.
External nasal dilators broaden the nostrils and prevent them from collapsing during inspiration, allow opening of the nasal valve2External nasal dilators: definition, background, and current uses.
Do Nasal Dilators Help with Deviated Septum?
Research has indicated the benefits of using nasal dilators as they tend to decrease the nasal resistance and increase the nasal valve cross-sectional area3External nasal dilators: definition, background, and current uses. This is beneficial in improving the symptoms of nasal obstruction. It was also observed that patients with nasal congestion showed significant improvement with the use of such devices4External nasal dilators: definition, background, and current uses.
Additional research suggests that dilators can positively impact sleep disorders and snoring, which can also be linked to a deviated nasal septum5Nasal septal deviation in the pediatric and adult populations. It has been noted that disorders such as nasal obstruction could or could not be linked with nasal septum deviation, however, nasal dilators have shown to be effective in all the groups and significantly better in the group with nasal septum deviation6Role of the External Nasal Dilator in the Management of Nasal Obstruction.
Best Nasal Dilators for Deviated Septum
A review of several studies was conducted to compare the effectiveness of nasal dilators in improving airflow through the nose. Most studies recommend the use of an external nasal dilator (five studies) and several studies (four studies) also supported the use of internal nasal dilators.
Moreover, the study also considered usage of other available devices such as nasal stents and nasal simulators, however, not much evidence suggests the use of such devices to improve nasal airflow. Overall, the research suggests that both internal and external nasal dilators can be used effectively as an alternative treatment to septoplasty or nasal septum deviation surgery7A Comparison of Over-the-Counter Mechanical Nasal Dilators: A Systematic Review.
- 1Internal nasal dilator in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and treated with continuous positive airway pressure
- 2External nasal dilators: definition, background, and current uses
- 3Nasal septal deviation in the pediatric and adult populations
- 4Role of the External Nasal Dilator in the Management of Nasal Obstruction
- 5A Comparison of Over-the-Counter Mechanical Nasal Dilators: A Systematic Review