What is Turbinate Reduction Surgery?

The turbinates, sometimes called nasal conchae, are three long, thin, curled shelves of bone inside the nose. They increase the surface area of the nasal passage, which cleans and humidifies the air we breathe. The turbinates can sometimes become swollen or inflamed, which obstructs the airway. Turbinate reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of swollen turbinates.

Surgery is only recommended if other treatments have not helped to relieve symptoms such as congestion, snoring, and headaches. During turbinate reduction, a thin fiber-optic tube is often placed in the nostril to allow the surgeon access to the area. The enlarged turbinates may be reduced with the use of radiofrequency or cauterization to shrink them, or excess tissue may be removed entirely. The mucous lining is usually left in place to protect the nasal passage and assist in healing.

Turbinate reduction surgery is a fairly common procedure, and works quickly to increase airflow and reduce excess drainage and congestion.

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