Nasal drip, medically known as rhinitis, generally comes in two classifications: allergic rhinitis or non-allergic or vasomotor rhinitis. Nasal drip (or rhinorrhea) and postnasal drip in patients that have allergic rhinitis comes from an inflammatory response after exposure to a specific allergen. On the other hand, in vasomotor or non-allergic rhinitis, other triggers (oftentimes unknown) cause these symptoms.
The treatment of nasal drip often involves topical nasal sprays and anti-allergy medications. If medical management is not effective, surgical intervention has been the traditional alternative. More recently, however, I have had the ability to offer my patient’s a minimally invasive and non-surgical option. These in-office procedures have been proven to be quite effective. The procedure involves ablating the vidian nerve in the back of the nose. The vidian nerve is responsible for nasal drip in the majority of patients. There are two medical devices that ablate the vidian nerve: ClariFix and RhinAer. I have significant experience using both technologies.
ClariFix has been around longer than RhinAer. It is a cryoablation tool that freezes the tissue around the vidian nerve. It is simple, fast and effective. One of the advantages of ClariFix is that there is no need for additional electrical equipment as the entire unit is contained in the handpiece.
RhinAer is a relatively newer technology. This device delivers radiofrequency energy (instead of cryogen) to the vidian nerve. Like ClariFix, it leaves the surface lining of the nose intact while inactivating branches of the vidian nerve. It has the advantage of being able to shrink tissue at the inferior turbinates at the same time. It also has the advantage of avoiding the possibility of an “ice cream headache” that sometimes occurs with the ClariFix procedure.
Both procedures are generally very easy to tolerate in the office under local anesthesia and have similar efficacy and results. In my patient population, approximately 75% have shown symptomatic improvement. Symptoms usually improve around one month after the procedure. Even if symptoms do not improve, there is very little likelihood of adverse effects or downsides to trying these procedures. Furthermore, these procedures do not preclude the use of other medications or surgeries in the future. Depending on your anatomy, preference, and other factors, I may recommend one of these procedures over the other.