Do you have difficulty breathing through your nose even when you are not congested? If so, you might have a condition called turbinate hypertrophy. Nasal turbinates are the long, narrow passageways in your nasal cavities that help to warm and humidify the air that flows in through your nose. If these passageways become enlarged, it may be difficult to breathe through the nose. Nasal turbinates perform a vital function in the body to warm and moisten the air, so it’s important that your nasal turbinates function correctly.
Turbinate Reduction Surgery
A turbinate reduction is a surgery that can help you breathe better through your nose. The goal of the procedure is to reduce the size of your turbinates and allow air to flow more easily through these passageways while preserving the lining.
Here’s what to expect from the procedure:
1. The surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort.
2. Your doctor will insert a thin, hollow tube called a microdebrider to perform a submucous resection of the turbinate. This has a blade that goes back and forth and results in a permanent removal of the turbinate.
4. As the tissue heals over time, the size of the turbinates will be reduced. This results in improved airflow through the nose.
This procedure can usually be done in the office and only takes about 10 minutes. Typically, there is no pain during the recovery period and no negative long-term side effects such as loss of smell. Your doctor might prescribe nasal irrigation and antibiotics to prevent any infection.
Risks of Turbinate Reduction
With any medical procedure, there are always associated risks. Turbinate reduction surgery, fortunately, has very low risks of complications. It’s always important that you speak with your doctor about any concerns you have.
· Bleeding. Most nasal surgeries have some blood loss, which is usually tolerated very well. For a week prior to surgery, you should avoid any blood-thinning medications such as aspirin and certain supplements.
· Infection. Your doctor will likely prescribe nasal irrigation and antibiotics to prevent any infections.
· Persistent nasal obstruction. The vast majority of patients show significant improvement after the procedure, but there are many different factors that can affect the outcome. Sometimes, turbinate tissue will regrow if the reduction is done using radiofrequency, and the procedure may need to be repeated. Only very rarely do symptoms not improve after the procedure.
In general, turbinate reduction has been shown to be a very successful way of reducing breathing obstructions caused by enlarged or swollen nasal turbinates. The results of a turbinate reduction procedure most often outweigh any risks. If you have trouble breathing through your nose and believe it may be due to inflamed turbinates, talk to your doctor to see if this procedure is a good choice for you.