Skip to Content

Non-Surgical Management of Nasal Obstruction

Team Members:
  • Clayton Andrews
  • Melissa Austin
  • Eric Cao
  • Alexander Glavin
  • Talia Kirschbaum
  • Theodore Lee
  • Pooja Nair
  • Harrison Nguyen
  • Robert Allen, PhD
  • Patrick Byrne, MD


Restricted nasal breathing is one of the most common complaints heard by otolaryngologists (ENTs) every day. This symptom is indicative of nasal obstruction, which is often caused by a narrowing or collapse of the internal nasal valve. The leading treatment for this condition is surgical reconstruction of the nasal passages, however approximately 34% of patients experience worsened symptoms postoperatively due to permanent scarring and swelling. In contrast, simply pressing outward against the internal nasal valve with a cotton swab completely relieves symptoms of obstruction in 89% of patients. While this maneuver is currently used as a diagnostic tool, we see an opportunity to develop a non-surgical device that emulates this technique to counteract nasal obstruction. To this end, we are developing a comfortable and discreet nasal dilator that is inserted into obstructed nostrils to open the airways and facilitate breathing.

Read the Johns Hopkins University privacy statement here.