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Nasal polyp in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Nasal polyp in Adult

Contributors: Eulalia Amador MD, Paul C. Bryson MD, MBA
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Nasal polyps are benign, often bilateral sessile or pedunculated semitranslucent mucosal outgrowths of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. They occur in 1%-4% of the general population, with peak incidence in individuals between the ages of 20 and 40 years.

The majority of cases are associated with edema and eosinophilic infiltration. Although the precise cause of formation is unknown, the etiology of nasal polyps is regarded as multifactorial and as being linked with chronic mucosal inflammation. Contributing factors may include cytokine mediators, innate immune defects, infection, genetic factors, environmental exposures, and inflammatory conditions.

Nasal polyps are frequently associated with chronic sinusitis, asthma, aspirin sensitivity, nonallergic (eg, vasomotor, drug induced) and allergic rhinitis and rhinosinusitis, cystic fibrosis, and alcohol intolerance.


J33.9 – Nasal polyp, unspecified

736499003 – Polyp of nasal cavity and/or nasal sinus

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Sinonasal papilloma – they are irregular and friable in appearance and bleed easily
  • Meningoencephalocele (see Meningocele, Encephalocele) – grayish, gelatinous appearance
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer – firm, often ulcerated
  • Lobular capillary hemangioma
  • Chordoma – gelatinous appearance, arises from notochordal (embryonic) remnants
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
Other tumors:
  • Benign lesions such as mucous retention cyst, antrochoanal polyp, mucocele, Tornwaldt cyst (located in the midline of the nasopharynx), dacryocystocele, Osteoma, Sinonasal papilloma, juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, Hemangiopericytoma, capillary hemangioma, and Cavernous hemangioma and those associated with Granulomatosis with polyangiitis and Sarcoidosis.
  • Malignant lesions such as Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, Lymphoma, Melanoma, and fibrous histiocytoma.

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Reviewed:03/04/2018
Last Updated:06/30/2020
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Nasal polyp in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Nasal polyp : Nasal congestion, Nasal obstruction, Nasal polyps, Recurring episodes or relapses, Hyposmia
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.