Absorbable nasal implants are used to treat nasal blockage or obstructions and allow better breathing and sleep to the patient. Nasal airway obstruction can be caused by several factors, including septal deviation, enlarged turbinates, and weakened upper and/or lower lateral nasal wall cartilage, which can lead to nasal valve collapse (vestibular stenosis). Symptoms include stuffiness, congestion or an inability to breathe through one or both nostrils. The nasal valve collapse contributes as much as 80% of the total airway resistance. Nearly 3 million Americans visit a physician for nasal obstruction and about 1 million procedures are performed to alleviate the symptoms.
Nasal valve collapse impacts the patient’s quality of life significantly. This condition is severe in some patients, and has limited number of treatment options. Moreover, most of the treatment options are invasive and the only permanent solution is to undergo a nasal valve surgery. This requires extensive skills and training by the ENT specialist or facial plastic surgeons.
Alternate Treatment Options for Nasal Valve Collapse
One of the convenient options is the nasal valve dilator – Breathe Right strips being sold in the market. Nasal valve dilators are available in two options – one that can be worn internally and other that is stuck externally (Breathe Right strips). Other option is rhinoplasty with or without graft to repair the nasal valve collapse.
This condition is often undertreated and under diagnosed because of low patient awareness. An absorbable implant is a non-invasive technology to support the nasal cartilage and improve breathing. These implants are an important development for nasal obstruction patients where a standard treatment procedure for septum and turbinates are not enough. The implants are usually preferred for patients who have undergone a rhinoplasty since there is a likelihood of an extremely narrow-looking nose.
Latera is the widely known Brand
There are two brands available in the global absorbable nasal implants market. These are Latera, and Inex. Latera absorbable nasal implant from Spirox Inc. received the FDA approval recently in 2016. Whereas the INEX absorbable nasal implant approved by the U.S. FDA in 2015. INEX absorbable nasal implant supports septal cartilage whereas the LAtera supports upper and lower lateral nasal cartilage.
Latera is designed using a copllymer, which gets absorbed in the body over a period of approximately 18 months. The product includes a delivery device and an implant positioning guide in the accessories. The single use delivery device is composed of a handle body, a deployment plunger and pushrod, and a 16-gauge delivery cannula with a depth marker and protective cover.
Spirox, Inc. recently announced the positive outcomes from a multi-center study of Latera absorbable nasal implant. In this study, LATERA showed significant quality-of-life improvement through one year, using the NOSE score, for nasal obstruction patients with lateral cartilage weakness resulting in nasal valve collapse. Improvements identified in the study included less nasal blockage or obstruction, less trouble breathing through the nose while at rest or during exercise, and less trouble sleeping. On the other hand the risks include mild bruising and inflammation, mild pain or irritation, discomfort, infection and reaction to material.
Being an innovative product, the market for absorbable nasal implant device is very small and will gradually find the acceptance among the physicians and patients with increasing awareness.