Turbinoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to reduce the size of the inferior turbinate (or remove them / Turbinectomy) in your nose, which may be oversized and impeding the flow of air and drainage. The procedure creates more space so that you can breathe easier and so corticosteroid nasal sprays commonly prescribed for nasal allergies can work more effectively.
What are the turbinates?
Located inside the nose on both sides near the septum, the turbinates are made up of a thin plate of bone, covered on each side by a lining called mucosa. Usually, there is space between the septum and turbinates to allow air to pass through the nose.
There are three turbinates in each nostril (inferior, middle, and superior), that function to warm and moisturize air as it flows through your nose.
Why are turbinates a problem?
For most patients, the soft tissue part of the inferior (lower) turbinates is the major problem, where the turbinates become enlarged – either due to overgrowth of the bone or swelling of the mucosa – leading to nasal congestion, blockage, and obstruction.
How is a Turbinoplasty performed?
The initial treatment of enlarged inferior turbinates is usually a steroid nasal spray, however if the nasal spray is not effective, or if the turbinates are very large, or a reduction surgery makes sense to enhance the outcome of a related surgery (e.g., Septoplasty) then surgery to reduce the bulk of the turbinates is recommended.
This procedure is minimally invasive using specialized cameras (endoscopes) and instruments inside the nose.
- There are several surgical techniques available, all of which result in reducing the size of turbinates, including: Trimming, “liposucting,” and thermal ablation.
- Depending on the method selected, the procedure is outpatient and can be done in-office or a surgery center room under local or general anesthesia.
- Generally, the procedure takes 15-20 minutes, but that can vary from patient to patient. Of course, the time is extended when any other procedures are added on (e.g., sinus surgery, septoplasty, etc.).
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