LATERA is a minimally invasive procedure for improving nasal breathing. It is used in people that have nasal valve collapse. Nasal valve collapse occurs when the cartilage on the outside of the nose collapses when you take a deep breath.
LATERA is also commonly used in conjunction with other ENT procedures to help with nasal breathing including septoplasty and turbinate reduction.
Taking a Closer Look at Your Nasal Valve
The nasal valve is made of 3 structures:
#1 – Nasal Septum
The nasal cavity is divided by a vertical partition called the ‘nasal septum’. Your nasal septum is made up of cartilage towards the front of the nose and bone towards the back of the nose.
#2 – Inferior Turbinate
Turbinates are spongy, curled bones that stick out into the nasal passages. There are three types of turbinates: inferior, middle, and superior – located on both sides of your nasal passages. The inferior turbinate is the largest of the turbinates and is responsible for directing airflow inside of your nasal cavity. When you think of your turbinates, think of the word “turbulence”.
Your turbinates are covered in thick layer of vascular tissue, often referred to as ‘respiratory epithelium’. This respiratory epithelium that covers your turbinates plays an important role in heating, humidifying, and filtering the air you inhale through your nose.
Why is this important?
Humid air (as opposed to dry air) helps prevent potential damage to the delicate olfactory receptors (what helps you detect smells) located inside of your nasal cavity. To put it into perspective – if your olfactory receptors were damaged, you may not be able to smell certain odors, if at all.
#3 – Nasal Cartilage
Your nasal cartilage is responsible for providing both form and support inside of your nose. Before LATERA, we did not have a way to manage the nasal cartilage without performing an open rhinoplasty, which takes hours and produces a nasal scar.
LATERA helps support your nasal cartilage. It is a minimally invasive procedure that helps manage nasal obstruction. The entire procedure takes five minutes and does not leave any scars. The LATERA implant is hidden beneath the tissue and is not visible to the eye. Think of this kind of implant as an implantable Breathe Right Strip.
Symptoms vary from patient to patient. However, most patients have come to me with the inability to breathe through their nose. Other symptoms include: nasal congestion and/or pressure in the nasal cavity. This affects their ability to exercise and carry on day-to-day functions. A lot of the patients I have seen were previously misdiagnosed with sinus disease.
Types of Patients Who Benefit from LATERA
The patients that I have completed the LATERA procedure on have all reported improved nasal breathing with minimal side effects. I expect LATERA will become one of our go-to tools to help people breathe better through their nose.
Watch a Demonstration of How LATERA Works
About James O’Neil, MD
Dr. James O’Neil is an otolaryngologist with WakeMed Physician Practices ENT. Dr. O’Neil’s clinical interests include: diseases of the thyroid/parathyroid, head and neck cancer, pediatric ENT, robotic surgery, and others. Learn more about Dr. O’Neil, and schedule an appointment today.