There are three turbinates (inferior, middle, and superior) on each side of the nose, and their job is to clean and humidify the air as it moves through your nose into your lungs. Learn more about turbinate hypertrophy.
Turbinate surgery should correct the problem of nasal obstruction by reducing the turbinate size and thereby decreasing airway resistance while preserving the natural function of the turbinates. This should improve nasal breathing and may reduce nasal drainage and post-nasal drip.
- Your surgery may be performed in conjunction with a surgical septoplasty.
- Inferior turbinate reduction is usually performed under local or general anesthesia. The surgeons at The Johns Hopkins Sinus Center use endoscopes, a thin tube with a light at the end, to improve visualization and provide a magnified view during surgery.
- Your surgeon makes an incision in the lining mucosa of the turbinate and carefully removes the underlying bone of the turbinate. Your doctor may elect to use a microdebrider to thin the tissue around the turbinate. Alternately, they may be cauterized with radio frequency or electrical current (cautery or radiofrequency surgery).
- Complications associated with inferior turbinate surgery include bleeding, crusting, dryness, and scarring. Your doctor may prescribe a saline spray solution to relieve dryness and aid in healing.
- Turbinate reduction does not involve cutting through the skin, as it is performed entirely through the nostrils. Therefore, most people can go home the same day. Learn more about pre and post-operative care.