Advice Regarding Francis Alae Nasi Dilators

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY-236/2020
  • Departments: ENT
  • Last Updated: 27 March 2020


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your Francis Alae Nasi Dilator.  Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion.   If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is a Francis Alae Nasi Dilator and why do I need one?

Following discussion with your doctor, they have advised that you try a Francis Alae Nasi Dilator. The Francis Alae Nasi Dilator is used to open the nostril to allow you to breathe more easily through your nose. It acts to open up or expand the nasal passage and is used as an alternative to nasal surgery. The Francis Alae Nasi Dilator is a small silver oval shaped ring, with a bar across the top and a smaller ring towards the front.

How do I use my Francis Alae Nasi Dilator?

To insert the dilator ring, place it on to the tip of the little finger. The bar should be uppermost and the smaller ring near your finger nail. Gently insert the dilator into the nostril which you need to dilate; it should sit about 1.27 centimetres (half an inch) inside your nostril. The smaller ring should be towards the front of the nostril. It should not be visible when your head is in its natural position. However, it will be visible when you tilt your head backwards.

To remove the dilator, simply hook your little finger nail on to the smaller ring, which will be at the front of the nostril and gently pull downwards.

Can there be any complications or risks?

You need to be careful when inserting and removing your dilator, as it can scratch the lining of the nose and cause slight bleeding. If you get a cold or flu then the ring can get blocked with mucus or it can make the dilator slip down the nostril easily. In this case, please be careful as there is a possibility that it may fall out and become lost.

How should I care for the dilator?

Wash the dilator with hot soapy water, rinse well and dry. It is advisable to do this at least once a day or more often if you have a cold or flu. This is to keep your dilator free from blockage due to mucus or crusts and to help prevent any infections.

Wearing your dilator

How long or often you should use your dilator depends on how useful you find it to be and that you are comfortable wearing it. If you care for your dilator it should last at least 6 months to a year before it needs replacing. To get a replacement you will need to ring the department, quoting your name, case note number and the size of the dilator required if you know it.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the ENT, Head and Neck Department (01482) 468380.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

QR code to open leaflet