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What do nasal polyps look like?

Nasal polyps appear as small, greyish or pink, teardrop-shaped growths on the lining of the sinus cavity or nasal passages. You might also picture them as tiny peeled grapes. When viewing a CT scans of the sinuses, cloudy spots typically mean nasal polyps are present. They are normally benign and appear as a result of several different issues, which may include: prolonged inflammation of the nasal tissues, chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma or as a side effect of certain drugs. The actual cause of nasal polyps is not known.

Nasal polyps vary in size. Smaller growths often go unrecognized because they present no symptoms. More sizeable polyps, on the other hand, can cause great discomfort, since they can block the sinus passages, affecting your ability to breathe and predisposing you to acute or chronic sinusitis.

The cause of nasal polyps is still very poorly understood and may be due to hundreds of separate factors. Treatment that may be effective includes nasal saline irrigation, allergy control, and steroid sprays or pills designed to fight inflammation. If these methods are unsuccessful at reducing or removing nasal polyps, then surgery is sometimes necessary.

Images of Nasal Polyps


This lateral nasal view of sinus polyps shows the location of the polyps in both the maxillary and ethmoid sinus regions.


This photo shows a nasal endoscope view of a nasal polyp located near the middle turbinate.



A CAT scan of the sinuses will show areas that cannot be seen by endoscopic exam of the nose and can show the extent to which the polyps have spread.

For a more in-depth discussion on nasal polyps, check out our page on nasal polyp causes, symptoms, treatments and more.