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Mike Dilkes is a leading Ear, Nose & Throat consultant and laser surgeon based in London. Mike has performed thousands of procedures and is acknowledged as a leading authority on the use of laser treatment. 

Blocked Nose Guide Contents

0 / Guide Introduction

1 / What is a blocked nose?

What is happening when your nose is blocked

2 / What causes a blocked nose? 

Understand what might be creating your blocked nose

3 / Ways to unblock a nose 

Surgical and non-surgical options to deal with a blocked nose

4 / Surgical procedures to unblock a nose

Understand surgical options to deal with a persistent blocked nose

5 / Recovery

Recovery from blocked nose surgery

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Part 3

Ways to unblock a nose

There are a range of ways to unblock a nose, from the simple to the surgical:

Blow your nose

This gets rid of mucous build up and helps the sinuses to drain. 


Steam your nose

Menthol and Eucalyptus are natural decongestants, they are carried in the steam which as a vapour is able to penetrate deeply into the nose. 


Use decongestant tablets or sprays

Short term these are fine - but only for a week or so. They are sympathomimetics, which means they can put your blood pressure up, or cause heart rhythm disturbance. 

Blocked Nose Treatments, Mike Dilkes ENT

Salt water nose washout

There are several devices available from chemists which wash out the nose. These include Sterimar, Neil Med Sinus rinse, Netipots. Well worth trying.


Medically prescribed sprays

Antihistamine, steroid, sodium chromoglycate can all be helpful in treating allergy and rhinitis. DyMista is a new combination spray which has been very effective.



A deviated nasal septum requires surgery, which is performed as a day case under a short general anaesthetic. This is called septoplasty, and leaves the nose congested after the operation for between 5 and 7 days. It is not a painful procedure, with no black eyes or cuts outside. Return to work can be after 2 or 3 days. 

Turbinectomy or Turbinoplasty

Swollen turbinates, which are large bones within the nose, can be resistant to the effects of sprays and other medication. If so they can be lasered, either under local anaesthetic  or under general anaesthetic using the Holmium YAG laser, a more permanent procedure than its predecessor (turbinectomy), called turbinoplasty.  This is not painful postoperatively and can be done as a lunchtime procedure under local anaesthetic (return to work straight away). There is some congestion for a few days post op. 


Large adenoids are easily treated by an operation called adenoidectomy, which is performed under a short general anaesthetic. 


Cancer of the post nasal space tends to be very responsive to treatment with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

Sinus cancer generally presents late and needs to be treated with a combination of radical surgery and radiotherapy. 

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