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What are Turbinates?
Turbinates are structures in the nasal airways that serve to warm and humidify the air that gets breathed in. There are three kinds - superior, middle, and inferior turbinates.
It is normal for them to grow and shrink, as this helps to regulate airflow. There are certain conditions, however, including allergy and sinus infections, that may cause the turbinates to experience a permanent size increase. Left untreated, this may lead to various nose, throat, and breathing problems including:
- Heavy nasal obstruction
- Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
- Nasal polyps
Nasal obstruction, aka stuffy nose, leading to sleep disturbances may cause you to experience daytime sleepiness and alterations in normal moods and behavior patterns.
Treatment can include medications designed to decrease swelling of the nasal tissue. It can also include invasive and minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Invasive Treatment for Nasal Obstruction Due to Turbinate Hypertrophy
This would entail either a partial or total resection of the turbinates. These procedures are normally performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia.
Surgery to Correct Inferior Turbinate Enlargement
There are several techniques available; your physician will discuss these with you.
- Resection: A small portion is removed from the bottom of the inferior turbinates.
- Submucous resection: Some bone making up the turbinates is removed, but the outer covering (mucosa) is left intact. Effectively, this will improve the overall size of the turbinate, but not change its warming and humidifying qualities.
- Outfracturing: The turbinate is put under surgical duress to make small fractures that free up additional space in the nasal airways.
Surgeons may use one or a combination of these techniques.
Surgery to Correct Middle Turbinate Enlargement
The middle turbinate does not have the same importance in the process of warming and humidifying air. Usually, all that is required to return it to “normal” is a resection of the enlargement. It can also be moved back to its position by attaching it to the septum of the nose.
How is Turbinate Reduction Surgery performed?
All turbinate surgery is performed inside the nose using an endoscope, so there will be no external incisions or scarring. Minor turbinate surgery can be achieved in your doctor’s office using local anesthesia. More extensive surgery is usually done in an outpatient surgery center.
Minimally Invasive Turbinate Reduction
At Scottsdale ENT, we offer minimally invasive turbinate reduction procedures that can be done in our office clinic under local anesthesia.
If you are short of breath, suffer from nasal congestion, and are looking for answers, you can count on Scottsdale ENT for the compassion, dedication, and advanced solutions you deserve.