WHAT ARE TURBINATES?
Turbinates are the structures in the nose that filter and humidify the air we breathe. Sometimes they become too large secondary to allergies, sinus infection, or septal deviation. Turbinate reduction is a simple office procedure with the capability to shrink the turbinate back to a normal size to improve the patients breathing.
Turbinate Reduction Overview
An Animated Look
This video depicts an animated simulation of the Turbinate Reduction procedure under optimal conditions.
How Does The Turbinate Reduce Airflow In The Nasal Passages?
The turbinate swelling fills the available space to breathe and therefore the patient feels congestion and nasal obstruction.
Swollen Turbinates Symptoms
When the turbinates enlarge they literally fill the available space in the nasal cavity. They will swell from the side of the nose all the way to the middle, making contact with the septum. Patients with turbinate enlargement could experience some of the following symptoms:
If a patient feels chronic congestion causing difficulty freely breathing through their nose they should have an evaluation to see if turbinate swelling is the cause. Oral decongestants or topical decongestants provide relief in turbinate enlargement but the symptoms quickly recur after that medicine wears off.
How Do I Prepare For A Turbinate Reduction?
It’s a simple procedure. Upon arrival at the office, we instruct our patients to take four puffs of afrin in each nostril. The rest is up to us. It will take only a few minutes and you will be on your way.
The Turbinate Reduction Procedure
Reduction is a simple office procedure similar to liposuction. Under endoscopic view a small puncture is made in the turbinate that is swollen and the turbinate reduction is performed with a special instrument called a suction microdebridder. It takes about 5 minutes and can be done under local or under additional sedation if the patient desires. This simple procedure provides has drastic results in improving snoring, nasal pressure, drainage, and overall congestion.
We frequently combine turbinate reduction with the following:
- Balloon Sinus Dilation
Turbinate Reduction Recovery
There is no significant recovery with turbinate reduction. The patient may have a mild cold like sensation and a little blood in their nasal secretions for a couple of days. Pain medication is not a requirement and there is no limitation of activity.