turbinate reduction

What Is Turbinate Reduction And Do You Need Surgery?

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | December 11th, 2017

turbinate reductionAre you having trouble breathing? Do you suffer from reoccurring sinus infections and congestion? While allergies or inflammation may cause these symptoms, inflamed turbinates may be the source of your problems.

A simple turbinate reduction could ease these symptoms. Read here to find out what it is and if you need surgery to correct it.

What are Turbinates?

Turbinates are a set of three small, curved pair of bones in the nose covered by soft tissue.

Their purpose is to humidify, warm, and filter air as it’s inhaled through the nose. Because turbinates act as a filter, they also help the body to hold off infections and colds.

Superior and middle turbinates sit higher in the nose. The largest set of turbinates called the lower, or interior set, are about 2 inches long and the width of a chopstick.

Should these turbinates become inflamed or enlarged, they will impact both breathing and airflow. Turbinates can swell due to inflammation of the mucous membranes, a deviated septum, upper respiratory infections, or allergies.

Who Would Benefit From Turbinate Reduction?

If you suffer from these symptoms, a turbinate reduction may benefit you:

  • Chronic nosebleeds or sinus infections
  • Snoring or sleep apnea
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Migraines

While many ailments may cause these symptoms, they may also be the result of swollen or inflamed turbinates.

There are some home remedies patients can try before having a turbinate reduction. Saline nasal drops and traditional antihistamines can help to reduce symptoms.

If your symptoms are chronic, a turbinate reduction may offer relief.

Turbinate Reduction Procedures

There are three primary methods used to reduce the turbinates.


This procedure removes part or all of the turbinate. It can be performed under general anesthesia and uses a microdebrider to shave down the excess tissue.


In a turbinoplasty, the doctor will reposition the bones in the nose, known as an outfracture. Turbinoplasty can also involve a removal of excess tissue.

Radio Frequency and Laser Ablation

This technique uses radio frequency or lasers to reduce tissue. The procedure takes less than one minute per nostril and only requires local anesthesia. Radio frequency reduction is the least invasive option and available here at the Sinus Center of Atlanta.

Risks of Turbinate Reduction

The reduction procedure is low risk, though there can be some side effects.

  • Removed turbinate can grow back
  • Scar tissue build up
  • Punctured septum
  • Nasal fluid buildup
  • Numbness


Most turbinate reduction surgeries are outpatient procedures. Because the surgery is inside the nose, there is no visible scarring.

Some patients will be sent home with nasal packing for wound care, but it is removed not too long after surgery.

Patients may also experience some facial pain and swelling.

The first week, patients may have excessive nasal fluid and are advised to use a saline-spray to keep the area hydrated and clear.

Patients can resume most normal activities within a week and experience a full recovery within two to three weeks.

If you’re suffering from constant nasal congestion and infection, we’d love to help. Give us a call to set up your appointment with some of Atlanta’s finest board-certified ear, nose and throat doctors today!

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