Benign Sinonasal Tumors

What are Benign Sinonasal Tumors?

At the Yale Sinus and Allergy Program, we specialize in treating a range of nasal and sinus conditions and diseases, including benign sinonasal tumors. 

Benign sinonasal tumors are non-cancerous growths inside the nasal or sinus passages. These tumors tend to grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body. The benign tumors can arise from any of the areas inside the nose or sinuses, including the lining, the blood vessels, the nerves, bone, and cartilage. If the tumor gets too big, it can affect your ability to breathe properly, as well as your sense of smell and even your vision. 

There are different types of benign sinonasal tumors, including:
  • Nasal polyps (a growth in the lining of the nasal passage)
  • Inverted papilloma (a one-sided, wart-like growth)
  • Hemangioma (a collection of blood vessels)
  • Osteoma (tumor of the bony tissue)
  • Fibrous dysplasia (abnormal growth of bony tissue)
  • Angiofibroma (a growth that consists of fibrous tissue and blood vessels)
Although the tumor is non-cancerous, we understand it is normal to feel nervous about your diagnosis and the surgical process. We will walk you through every step of the way, so you know what to expect before, during, and after surgery. 

Symptoms of Benign Sinonasal Tumors

The symptoms of benign sinonasal tumors depend on where the tumor is and what type of tumor it is. 

Below are symptoms that may arise in association with where the tumor is located:
  • Nasal cavity: Usually just one side of the nasal cavity is affected. Symptoms may include mucous discharge, crusting within the nose, nosebleeds, and nasal obstruction.
  • Maxillary sinus: The maxillary sinus is just below the eye; therefore, swelling in the cheek or just under the eye may be present. 
  • Frontal sinus: The frontal sinus is above the eye; therefore, swelling on the forehead above the eye may occur. If the tumor is large enough, the eye may be pushed down and vision can be affected. 
  • Ethmoid sinus: The ethmoid sinuses are between the eyes, and a tumor here may push into the nasal cavity, causing a blockage. It may also push into the eye, displacing it from the eye socket, and cause double vision. 
This list should be used as a guideline. Not every symptom is included. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not mean that you have a benign sinonasal tumor. Please contact your doctor right away if you think you may have a benign sinonasal tumor.

Causes of Benign Sinonasal Tumors

Nasal polyps may be caused by increased inflammation in the nose. These are often associated with chronic rhinosinusitis. Other benign sinonasal tumors may be caused viruses. Often, no cause is identifiable.

Risk Factors of Benign Sinonasal Tumors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get a benign sinonasal tumor; not having risk factors does not mean that you will not get a benign sinonasal tumor. If you think you may be at risk, you should talk to your doctor. 

Treatment for Benign Sinonasal Tumors

Treatment for benign nasal tumors generally includes surgery through endoscopic procedures. Our surgeons at the Yale Sinus and Allergy Program are renowned for their expertise and leading-edge technique in minimally invasive, endoscopic tumor surgery. The term “endoscopic” refers to the use of small nasal telescopes that allow all of the surgery to be performed through the nostrils, without the need for any incisions on the face. The nasal telescopes provide a clear, magnified view of the nasal and sinus areas. Through the endoscopic procedure, the surgeon delicately removes benign tumors from the nose and sinuses. Endoscopic removal of the tumor results in faster postsurgical recovery than open surgical techniques, can be performed as an outpatient procedure, and allows for excellent tumor control. 

We understand that you probably have many questions about your condition, your symptoms, and the surgical process. We are here to answer all your questions and address all your concerns. It is important to us that you feel supported before, during, and after your surgery.