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A nasal papilloma is a benign growth located inside the nose. Papillomas can often be diagnosed by a general practitioner during a general physical examination which includes a look into the nose, and the physician may refer a patient to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for further evaluation and treatment. There are several treatment options available for nasal papillomas, depending on the cause and location of the growths, and an ENT specialist can discuss the options with the patient.
These growths are basically warts in the nose, and are often caused by viruses which lead to the development of warts, such as the human papilloma virus. The growth is hard, with a wrinkled and rough appearance, unlike a polyp, which is smooth. It can be located anywhere in the nose, and some people experience the development of multiple growths in their noses.
Classically, a nasal papilloma blocks the nose, impeding breathing or sense of smell. People may also experience discomfort as the growth develops, and the growths can bleed. A rare type of growth known as an inverted or inverting nasal papilloma has growth which extends into the underlying tissues of the nose. Around one in ten of these unusual growths can turn cancerous, which makes them a cause for concern when they are identified on a physical exam.
When someone is diagnosed with a nasal papilloma, one treatment approach is simply to leave it in place with no interference or treatment. The growth is usually benign and is hidden inside the nose, so it should not be an aesthetic issue. If the patient starts to experience difficulty breathing or finds that the sense of smell is occluded, however, recommendations to remove the growth may be made. Several removal techniques can be used, usually in the comfort of a doctor's office, with minor aftercare required to prevent infection in the nose.
If a patient has a nasal inverted papilloma, a doctor may recommend laboratory testing of the growth. A pathologist can examine the cells to see if they are benign or cancerous. If cancerous cells are detected, some more aggressive treatments may be needed. Usually a medical imaging study is also recommended to look more thoroughly inside the nose and head for any other signs of abnormal growth which could be indicative of a problem. These cancers often respond well to early intervention.