Turbinates are structures within the nose that are responsible for helping warm, filter and add moisture to air as you breathe it in. When healthy, these built-in air filters regulate the temperature and moisture level inside your nose. They can cause a nasal blockage when they become swollen, enlarged or displaced.
Inflamed or enlarged turbinates can make it hard to breathe, causing chronic congestion.
What Causes Enlarged Tubinates?
Common causes of enlarged turbinates include:
- Changes in weather
- Changes in hormone levels
Chronic infections, severe allergies and an anatomic issue with the nose can lead to cases of enlarged turbinates that cannot be easily treated. In this instance, surgery may be required.
Surgical Turbinate Reduction
In order to shrink or remove the inflamed turbinates, surgery may be needed.
Coblation Inferior Turbinate Reduction
Radiofrequency can be used to reduce the size of your turbinates in a less invasive surgical procedure known as coblation. After anesthetic has been applied, a coblation device attached to a radiofrequency generator is inserted into the nose. At the end of the device are small electrodes, which are introduced into the turbinates; radiorequency is then applied two or three times.
Research shows this method is effective at reducing turbinates and decreasing nasal symptoms both three months and six months following the procedure.
Severe cases of chronic congestion may require the surgical removal of the inflamed turbinates. General anesthesia is required for this procedure. Once administered, your doctor will remove some of the bone beneath your turbinates to reduce their size. If needed, they may also shave away some of the tissue surrounding the turbinates to open up your nasal cavity even more.
One retroactive study followed 307 patients over the course of 16 years to measure how effective their turbinate reduction surgery was. The researchers determined:
- 82 percent satisfaction one month following surgery
- 60 percent satisfaction three months following surgery
- 54 percent satisfaction one year following surgery
- 41 percent satisfaction one to 16 years following surgery
The recovery period varied, depending on how invasive your surgical procedure was.
To learn more about turbinate reduction surgery or to determine if your chronic congestion can be corrected, contact the experts at Augusta ENT today.