Objectives To learn how nasal batten grafts affect patients' assessment of their nasal airway patency and to determine the extent to which patients believe batten grafts altered their appearance.
Methods A prospective survey study of 18 patients in a tertiary veterans hospital who had nasal airway obstruction (NAO) due to nasal valve collapse was completed. Patients had placement of bilateral polyethylene batten grafts during a 36-month study period. The Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) validated survey was used to measure a patient's subjective postoperative change in nasal airway obstruction. In addition, the patients were asked to rate the extent their appearance had changed.
Results All patients presented with complaints of NAO due to nasal valve collapse either in isolation or in combination with another anatomical source of obstruction. The nasal valve collapse was identified by clinical examination. All patients had preoperative photographs. Most patients had a trial with an intranasal stent before opting for surgical implantation of the batten grafts. The results of the NOSE survey demonstrate significant improvement in nasal obstruction. Patients also reported only a minimal change in appearance. There was 1 patient with implant extrusions and only a few implants were removed.
Conclusions Nasal airway obstruction due to nasal valve collapse can be effectively treated with polyethylene batten grafts. The implants are well tolerated, and patients report a significant improvement in NAO. There is little risk of implant extrusion, exposure, or intolerance. In addition, patients did not note a significant change to their appearance.