Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Rhinolith is the formation of a stone in the nasal cavity due to deposition of calcium, magnesium and phosphate salts.

Rhinoliths are uncommon clinical entities reported in clinical practice as unusual cause of unilateral nasal obstruction and foul smell nasal discharge. It should be suspected when patient presents with nasal symptoms and found to have stony mass showed radiologically.

Rhinoliths are calcified material around intranasal foreign body. They can be endogenous if occur around body tissues as tooth or exogenous if they occur around foreign subject as stones, cotton, or beads. They are found usually in anterior nasal cavity commonly associated with narrowing due to deviated septum, spurs, and/or turbinate hypertrophy. Endoscopic appearance is the main step in diagnosis which can be supported by Radiology.


Although the pathogenesis remains unclear; a number of factors are thought to be involved in the formation of rhinoliths. These include entry and impaction of a foreign body in the nasal cavity, acute and chronic inflammation, obstruction and stagnation of nasal secretions, and precipitation of mineral salts. Development and progression are believed to take a number of years.

Radiological investigations such as plain X-ray and CT scan can support diagnosis and direct the management.


Symptoms experienced by a patient with a rhinolith can vary, but might include pain, swelling, abnormal nasal discharge, and a sensation of fullness. The affected patient might have a decreased sense of smell as a result of the obstruction caused by the stone. Most often the symptoms caused by this condition only affect one side of the nose.


Diagnosis of a rhinolith can be done using a number of different methods. In some cases, using a penlight to look up into the nares could help a doctor to make the diagnosis of a nasal stone. With other patients, doctors who specialize in diseases of the nose could use specialized scopes in order to visualize the nasal cavity more thoroughly. Other radiographic techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning or X-rays, could also assist in diagnosis.Nasal cavity is swabbed and cultured to see if there is any abnormal bacterial growth.


Treatment of a rhinolith focuses on removal of the stone. Sometimes the stone must be broken down into smaller component parts before it can be extracted. Often the nasal cavity is swabbed and cultured to see if there is any abnormal bacterial growth present, and if there is, patients are treated with appropriate antibiotic medications.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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