UC Irvine Health review finds nasal dilators effective

Many people turn to nasal strips, clips and stents to help them breathe easier when sleeping or exercising. Third-year UCI medical student Christopher Badger noticed a growing number of clinic patients asking about these dilators, so he decided to review the published research on them. The results appear online June 30 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. Badger and his co-authors generated a database of 33 over-the-counter nasal dilators using medical literature and internet searches. Generally, they found that these products work. In the review, they were divided into four categories: external nasal dilators worn over the bridge of the nose; internal nasal stents placed into each nostril; clips positioned over the nasal septum; and septal stimulators that apply pressure to the nasal septum to increase circulation in the area and help open nasal passages. “Our findings suggest that nasal strips and nasal clips effectively relieve obstruction of the internal nasal valve, and we recommend that patients explore their use before turning to surgical intervention,” Badger said. He added that this systematic comparison of nasal dilators does not recommend one product over the other but rather points to their possible efficacy.

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