I Tried Cottle Test and I Think I Have a Collapsed Nasal Valve, Is It Possible My Nose is Fine?

I had my nose set after breaking it 4 months ago, and I noticed one side looks a little droopy. Also when I breathe in on that side, my nose sinks in a very tiny bit, the other side doesn't sink in at all. When I tried the Cottle, I pulled my cheek to the side about 1 inch and covered the opposite nostril and I could actually breath a little better out of BOTH sides, a little more better out of the 'collapsed' one, but is it possible im just opening the air way a little more and my nose is fine?

Doctor Answers 6

Cottle test and nasal valve collapse

Hello Brittany,

It sounds from your description that there may be some collapse. However, the "sinking" you described can also be due to a narrower passage on that side which in turn can be due to a septal deviation. The only way to find out is to be examined by an experienced nasal surgeon. Nasal valve collapse and some forms of deviated septum are often overlooked. A surgeon with extensive experience in nasal surgery would be able to perform a thorough evaluation of the anatomy of your nose and diagnose the potential cause of the nasal obstruction. 

The Cottle test is not a "specific" test, which means that its presence does not identify one particular problem area, nor does it confirm the diagnosis of valve collapse.

Best of luck. MS

Montreal Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

I Tried Cottle Test and I Think I Have a Collapsed Nasal Valve, Is It Possible My Nose is Fine?

            You need to be examined to determine if there is internal nasal valve collapse.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of rhinoplasties and rhinoplasty revisions each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.

Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Nasal Valve Collapse #nosejob

I am proud of you for researching and knowing what the cottle test is and how to do it. Another good test is to take a breathe right strip and place it lower on the nose and see if that helps you breathe better as well. If it does then you should have an examination by an experienced nasal surgeon who may then suggest that you need special cartilage grafts to help open and support that nasal valve that is affected. You also simply may have a deviated septum obstructing one side more. Hard for me to know without looking. Hope this helps. 

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Nasal obstruction

Brittany, it is certainly possible that you have nasal valve collapse that is contributing to your nasal obstruction.  Collapse of the valve is a common problem after nasal bones fractures and the "droopy" aspect of your nasal side wall may also reflect the collapse.  I would suggest you see a rhinoplasty surgeon in your area for an evaluation and opinion.

Anthony E. Brissett, MD, FACS
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Airway obstruction

Nasal trauma can lead to midvault collapse necessitating a spreader graft to keep the internal valve open.  Best to be evaluated in person.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Nasal valve collapse

You are describing a typical finding of nasal valve collapse. If you continue to have obstructive symptoms, you can consider having an examination by a board certified specialist. I like to address nasal valve collapse with a spreader graft. This is usually covered through insurance.

Frank Agullo, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.