About Turbinate Reduction Surgery
The nasal turbinates are bony structures in the nose that are covered by a mucous membrane lining, and have a rich blood supply. There are three nasal turbinates; an inferior, middle and superior turbinate. These structures are significant because they act to humidify and heat the air we breathe and help to filter out dust particles and bacteria. They are also involved in our sense of smell .The superior turbinates in particular, are covered by olfactory epithelium, which include many tiny olfactory nerves and receptors which detect odours.
The turbinates swell and change size throughout the course of the day as part of their normal function (1). However, the turbinates can become inflamed and reason obstruction of the nasal cavity, this can interfere with breathing and reason feelings of congestion and nasal stuffiness. The enlargement can happen in both sides of the nose, or only in one side of the nose (2). If the obstruction becomes chronic this can lead to several other problems, such as sleep disturbances, dryness of the mouth and throat, nasal speech, fatigue, compact lung volume and generally feeling lethargic and unwell (3).
There are a number of reasons as to why the turbinates can become enlarged, including:
- Hay fever and allergies
- Chronic sinus infections
- Deviated nasal septum
- Exposure to irritants including chemicals and cigarette smoke
- Colds and other respiratory tract infections
- Medications and hormones
Some of these factors only reason temporary enlargement of the turbinates, such as a cold, where they will return to their normal size once the reason is no longer present. In other cases, the enlargement is permanent. Initially, enlarged turbinates are treated with medications, such as nasal sprays and decongestant tablets. If these treatments fail to get better symptoms over an appropriate period, surgery may be indicated (3). In some individuals, long-term use of decongestant sprays can worsen the turbinate enlargement.
Surgery for inflated turbinates is performed through the nostrils with no external incisions. Excessive tissue is removed to open up the nasal passages; this gets better airflow through the nose and decrease feelings of congestion and stuffiness. The inferior turbinate is most commonly operated on. There are several different surgical procedures which can be performed on the inflamed turbinate, depending on the severity and the type of tissue which is enlarged .However, surgical removal of the whole turbinate is not routinely recommended as there may be significant complications that can occur with this process. One such complication is ‘empty nose’ syndrome, where despite having the turbinate totally or partially removed and the nasal passage widened, there is a persistent feeling of a blocked nose and feelings of dryness within the nose.
(Best ENT Specialist in Bhopal)