Runny Nose Freeze-dry Method (Posterior Nasal Nerve Cryotherapy)

Overview: Chronic rhinitis is frequent inflammation of the nose with symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion and post-nasal drip (mucus in the throat). But what causes it?

While the exact causes are not always known, out-of-balance nasal nerves play a contributing factor. The nerves in your nose transmit signals to your brain regulating all sorts of functions. When these nerves become hyperactive or out of balance, they send more signals than are necessary for the nose to perform its normal jobs, such as protecting the body from infectious agents. This can cause your nose to respond like it’s fighting an illness. The nasal linings will become inflamed (congestion) and mucus production will increase (runny nose), causing these annoying symptoms – even when you aren’t sick.

Normal Nasal Cavity

  • Nasal nerves help regulate the nasal activity
  • Turbinates warm and moisturize air as it flows through the nose
  • Normal mucus production helps protect against infectious agents

Chronic Rhinitis Nasal Cavity

  • Nasal nerves send too many signals
  • Inflamed turbinates contribute to congestion and stuffy nose
  • Excessive mucus can drip down the throat and cause runny nose

There are limited treatment options for the more than 24 million patients suffering from chronic rhinitis in the US alone.1,2 Many are unsatisfied with medical therapy, and 2.5 million are resistant to medical therapy1,2 altogether.

Medical treatments for chronic rhinitis, like nasal sprays, drops, pills and allergy shots, help manage frequent runny nose, congestion and post-nasal-drip symptoms; however:

  • They may require daily use which for certain nasal sprays is more harmful than beneficial
  • Symptoms can persist despite these treatments
  • Side effects may occur from prolonged usage, including nasal and throat dryness, nosebleeds and headaches 3,4

If treatments such as nasal sprays, drops and pills are not working for you, or you are looking for a solution that lasts longer without the side effects of medications,3, 4, 5 it’s time to try the freeze-dry method.

Technique: The procedure is performed in our office under local anesthesia. Your nose is numbed by placing cotton pledgets soaked with an anesthetic agent into the nose and adding more anesthetic by injection afterwards. A slender device with a tiny balloon at its tip is introduced to the area in the back of the nose where the nerves that send signals for nasal discharge are located. The balloon is inflated with a cold nitrogen gas that causes a localized freeze of the tissue and thereby cause controlled injury to the nerve and causes a permanent drying effect of the nose.

The cool treatment using cryotheraoy is safe, requires only minimal recovery time and post-treatment care for most patients. It provides long-lasting symptom relief.  In a clinical study of 27 patients, the cryotherapy was well-tolerated and patients reported an average pain rating of 1.19 on the Wong-Baker FACES pain scale (0 = minimum score, 5 = maximum score).In general, there is minimal downtime and recovery. As with any nasal procedure, you may experience increased sensitivity, congestion and/or pain during the healing process. In a clinical study, side effects were those usually associated with cryosurgery in the nasal passageway and included: pain/discomfort, headache, facial pain, bleeding, dry nose, and ear blockage. These symptoms had either resolved or were rated as mild within 3 months of the procedure. Most patients begin to see improvement between 7 days and 30 days post-treatment.