Inferior Turbinate Reduction
Inferior turbinate reduction is a surgery carried out to reduce the size of the turbinates inside the nose without impairing their natural function.
Turbinates are the bony and soft tissue projections inside the nasal passageways on each side of your nose. The turbinates function as natural air filters trapping irritants (dust, pollen, etc.) from the air you breathe. They are also responsible for warming and humidifying the inhaled air. The nasal passageways have 3 pairs of turbinates: inferior, middle and superior. Out of the 3, the inferior turbinate is the lowest and is the first to meet the inhaled air.
In some people, the turbinates enlarge leading to narrowing of the nasal cavity. As a result, the free flow of air is obstructed causing symptoms of congestion and strained breathing. If this becomes a persistent long-term problem, your doctor may recommend surgery. It is the inferior turbinate that is usually addressed with the surgery.
- Gentle reduction in turbinate size
- Improvement in nasal breathing by eliminating obstruction in the nasal airway
Inferior turbinate reduction is performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the lining of the turbinate to remove the underlying bone using specialized instruments. An endoscope (thin tube with a light at the end) is used to obtain the best possible visualization during surgery. Finally, any excess swollen tissue surrounding the turbinate is trimmed.
Risks and Complications
Possible risks and complications associated with inferior turbinate reduction include crusting around the nostrils, bleeding, scarring and dryness. Your doctor may prescribe saline solution to relieve dryness and promote faster healing.
Your surgeon may recommend a few specific post-operative instructions for a speedy and successful recovery. These include using nasal saline sprays every 2-3 hours to overcome nose dryness and associated problems, avoiding heavy lifting, straining and nose blowing and avoiding NSAID’s and steroid sprays for at least 2 weeks following the surgery. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions upon discharge for you to follow.