How Are Enlarged Nasal Turbinates Treated?
Turbinate treatment depends on the cause of the enlargement. Chronic or acute infection will benefit from a trial of antibiotics. For patients with symptoms suggestive of allergic rhinitis, an allergy evaluation and trials of nasal steroids or antihistamine sprays may reduce swelling and improve breathing. Patients who do not respond to non-surgical medical management may be candidates for turbinate reduction surgery. Patients who do not want to use regular medication to control turbinate swelling may also be recommended turbinoplasty as an alternative treatment.
Turbinate reduction procedures to improve breathing may focus on reducing the soft tissue component of the turbinate, which can relieve swelling. Additionally, repositioning or removing the bone to widen the channel through which air may flow may also be considered.
Can Inferior Turbinate Reduction Be Done Under Local Anesthesia At Your NYC Office?
Certain patients are candidates for turbinate reduction in-office. During this procedure, a topical anesthetic is applied to cotton pledgets and placed into the nasal cavity. A local anesthetic is then injected into the treatment area to reduce any discomfort. Once the anesthetics take effect, a tiny needle is used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the inferior turbinate. Radiofrequency energy can reduce the turbinate’s ability to swell. However, this does not address the underlying bony enlargement of the turbinates.
Dr. Shin can determine if you are an appropriate candidate for turbinate reduction surgery using local anesthesia. Patients who have a relatively straight septum and swollen enlarged inferior turbinates that decongest well typically have the best chance of improvement with this procedure. Properly-selected patients have at a minimum 20-30% improvement in breathing.
How Is Turbinate Reduction Surgery In NYC Performed?
There are many different approaches to turbinate reduction surgery. One common approach, known as submucous resection of the turbinate, is performed under general anesthesia. This method addresses both mucosal hypertrophy and prominent bony enlargements and involves resecting the free edge of the inferior turbinate. Any bleeding is controlled with cauterization. At the end of the procedure, both turbinates are out-fractured to further improve the nasal airway and allow for greater airflow.
Is Turbinoplasty Combined With Other Forms Of Sinus Surgery?
Turbinate reduction is often paired with other procedures to further improve breathing, treat allergies, and reduce the frequency and severity of sinus infections. Most commonly, turbinate reduction is combined with septoplasty to improve breathing.
Septoplasty is designed to correct a deviated septum. Like enlarged turbinates, a deviated septum can also impede airflow through the nose. If patients are suffering from a deviated septum along with enlarged turbinates, then Dr. Shin may perform both treatments together to improve airflow. Learn more about septoplasty by clicking here.
What Can I Expect Following Turbinate Reduction Surgery?
Moderate nasal congestion may be experienced for 2-3 weeks following turbinoplasty surgery as the body heals. Turbinate reduction patients may require a nasal drip pad for 2-3 days to catch any light bleeding from the cut edge of the turbinates. Pain medication may be required for 2-3 days and will be prescribed by Dr. Shin.
Blowing of the nose should generally be avoided, though light nose blowing is permitted to relieve pressure. All turbinoplasty patients should avoid lifting or strenuous activities until permitted by our sinus surgeon. Follow-up appointments will be arranged so Dr. Shin can monitor your healing and recovery. Dr. Shin will discuss specific timelines, guidelines, and instructions for your turbinate reduction procedure during your consultation at our NYC office.
Will Turbinate Reduction Surgery Improve My Nasal Allergies?
Most patients will have improvement in their ability to breathe through their nose following turbinate reduction surgery. However, turbinoplasty does not reduce the reactivity of the nose to allergens, so allergy symptoms like runny nose, itching, and sneezing may persist. When paired with other nasal procedures or appropriate allergy medications, nasal allergy symptoms can dramatically improve. Learn more about allergy treatments by clicking here.