The Nose

While the outside of the nose slopes up towards the eyes, the inside of the nose passes back parallel to palate (roof of the mouth) towards the throat. Inside the nose there is a partition between the two nostrils called the nasal septum. On the side wall of the nose are three ridges called turbinates. These ridges warm, humidify and filter the air. It may surprise you that the inside of the nose is about 6-7 cm long from the nostrils to the throat. Sinuses are air filled pockets surrounded by bone that connect to the nose through small openings. There are four groups of sinuses: the frontal (forehead), the maxillary (cheek), the ethmoid (between the eyes) and the sphenoid (behind the eyes) sinuses.

Blocked Nose and Nasal Surgery

A blocked nose is a common complaint amongst our patients and can either be a short or long-term condition. The most common short-term cause of a blocked nose is due to nasal congestion from hay fever or a head cold. Some people also suffer from a long-term, constant blocked nose which can affect their quality of life. Nose surgery may be required to treat this chronic health issue.   

Aside from breathing issues, an ongoing blocked nose can also cause several health issues such as: an impaired sense of smell, fatigue, tiredness, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), ear infections and eustachian tube dysfunction.  

What can cause a Blocked Nose?

Common causes of a blocked nose include:

The most common cause for a blocked nose is a cold. Some colds also affect the sinuses-a condition called acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis is a common complication of the common cold

Hay fever (Allergic Rhinitis): 
Nasal allergies such as hay fever, occur when you react to airborne allergens (particles) such as pollens, house dust mite, grasses, moulds and animal dander Nasal congestion is a common symptom as your body overreacts to the foreign substance.

Chronic sinusitis:  
Chronic sinusitis is diagnosed when a nasal sinus inflammation has lasted for more than 3 months. Nasal polyps may also develop due to chronic sinusitis making the nose feel even more blocked. Nasal polyps occur when the tissues lining the nose become so swollen that they hang down like a bunch of grapes into the nose.  

Enlarged adenoids:
Adenoids are lymphoid tissue that are found at the back of your nose. Just like your tonsils, adenoids can often become swollen and cause nasal obstruction. This is more commonly found in children. 

Common causes of a blocked nose due to the structure (bone and cartilage) of the nose include:

Deviated nasal septum:
The partition between the two nostrils may be crooked (deviated) and this is a common cause of a blocked nose.  

Enlarged inferior turbinates: 
Inside the nose on the side wall there are ridges. The lowest ridge is called the inferior turbinate. Sometimes the inferior turbinate can be large and block the nostril.

Crooked nose:  
A very crooked nose frequently causes the nostrils to be small and narrow.

Nasal valve collapse:
The first centimetre or so of the nose if often the narrowest part of the nose. Sometimes the tissues around the opening of the nostril on the side of the nose are not wide enough or strong enough and collapse in when the patient breathes in (inspiration). This important part of the nasal airway is called the nasal valve and is frequently overlooked.  

What are the treatments for a Blocked Nose and other related Nasal Obstructions?

nasal surgery

Antibiotics and anti-allergy medication

Most infections that cause acute sinusitis will often resolve on their own. Your GP may prescribe antibiotics to help increase the rate of recovery. Anti-allergy medication such as steroid nasal spray and antihistamines can reduce nasal congestion and help patients who are experiencing allergic rhinitis (hay fever). 

However, if your blocked nose is caused by underlying structural conditions, nose surgery may be needed. 

Septoplasty and Turbinoplasty
Patients who have a deviated nasal septum may be advised to undergo septoplasty surgery which aims to straighten the partition between the two nostrils. This operation is done under general anaesthesia through a small incision inside the nose.  Dr. Hall has performed many septoplasty procedures and has helped many patients who were struggling with this condition. Turbinoplasty is a minor procedure that trims the lower turbinate bones found on the sides of your nasal cavities. This is often done in conjunction with septoplasty. Dr. Hall recommends patients take two weeks off to recover following septoplasty and turbinoplasty

This minor surgery removes swollen or enlarged adenoids and is most commonly performed in children. The recovery time following adenoidectomy is usually very short: one to two days. 


Septorhinoplasty is the name given to operating on the bones and cartilages that form the shape of the nose. It is commonly called a nose job. Although many people associate the term nose job with cosmetic nasal surgery, septorhinoplasty is often performed to help someone breathe more easily through their nose, this is called a functional septorhinoplasty. This operation is done under general anaesthesia. If the outside of the nose is crooked, it is straightened. The nasal septum is also straightened. Some of the cartilages that make up the shape of the nose are strengthened. Dr. Hall recommends patients take 2-3 weeks off work to recover following septorhinoplasty 

If you are experiencing ongoing Nasal Obstruction, Dr. Francis Hall will gladly assist you. If you’d like a consultation or have been referred by your GP, please contact us on (09) 281 2963 or book an appointment online.