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Nose polyps

 

Nose polyps in children are rare. Because children's noses are small, and a good look in the nose of a wriggly child is tricky, it is often difficult for doctors to know exactly what is going on. ENT surgeons often get asked about possible polyps, but the vast majority of the time the diagnosis turns out to be inferior turbinates.

Inferior turbinates are a normal part of the nose anatomy. There is one on each side, a small bone covered by a cushion of soft tissue. Turbinates help the nose function properly by allowing humidification of inhaled air and removal of any particles in the air. The inferior turbinates are easily seen in the normal nose, although their size varies a lot from one person to another, from one side to the other, and even from one hour to the next!

Nose polyps are something different. They are lumps of tissue that shouldn't be there. They are common in adults, where they usually they develop in conjunction with sinus problems. 

In children it's easy to get nose polyps and inferior turbinates confused. But whilst inferior turbinates are just part of normal anatomy, nose polyps can be caused by a variety of problems that will need investigating. Nose polyps could turn out to be sinusitis-related like in adults, but they can also be caused by other infections, genetic problems, abnormal brain development, or even tumours. 

If your GP is concerned about nose polyps in a child, they will likely ask for an ENT opinion. Hopefully, ENT will reassure you that all is OK and what is seen in the nose is just normal anatomy, but if ENT have any concerns they will advise you on appropriate management.