Nasal Polyps in Children

Complete Care for the Full Range of Nasal and Sinus Conditions

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When your child’s symptoms move beyond the congestion and sniffles of a common cold to more serious nasal and sinus infections or other concerns, our team of experts stand ready to help. Duke Children’s pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists diagnose the cause of your child’s symptoms and provide appropriate treatment. Our goal is to help your child feel better.

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Causes of Nasal and Sinus Problems

A chronic cough, facial pain, loud breathing, loss of sense of smell, and discolored mucus can all be signs that your child has a nasal or sinus condition. If these or other common cold-like symptoms last for more than 14 days, a visit to a pediatric ENT -- a doctor who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat -- is recommended.

It may be that allergies or sinusitis, an infection of the sinuses, is to blame. Or your child may have a blockage in his or her nasal passage that is causing a buildup of fluid and pressure. This blockage may due to:

Enlarged Adenoids
Located in the very back of the nose and often called the third tonsil.

Nasal Polyps
Soft growths that develop on the lining of the nasal or sinus passages.

Deviated Septum
Occurs when the wall that separates the nostrils is crooked.

Nasal or Sinus Tumor
These are very rare.

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Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.



Depending on the condition, your child may be treated with medicines, like antibiotics for infection, antihistamines for allergies, or steroid medications for inflammation. 


If a blockage or mass is found, surgically removing the mass or correcting the obstruction may be recommended. In most cases, these procedures can be done using an endoscope, which is much less invasive than traditional surgery.

Complex Medical Care

In the rare instance that your child is diagnosed with a nasal or sinus tumor or there is another complex medical concern such as cystic fibrosis, we will coordinate your child’s care with other specialists to ensure they receive comprehensive, thorough treatment.

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Duke pediatric ENT doctors -- also called pediatric otolaryngologists -- use advanced testing techniques to discover the cause of your child’s symptoms. In addition to physical exams, these may include:

Imaging Tests (Ultrasound, X-ray, CT Scan, MRI)

These check for fluid, inflammation, obstructions, or masses in the nasal and sinus cavities. 

Nasal Endoscopy

An endoscope -- a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera on the end -- is inserted through your child’s nose, allowing doctors to see inside your child’s nasal passages.


If a tumor is suspected, your doctor may perform a biopsy. A sample of tissue is removed with a needle, using an endoscope or during surgery. The tissue is studied under a microscope to see whether cancer is present.

Best Children's Hospital in NC

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in 10 pediatric specialties.

This page was medically reviewed on 08/08/2022 by