If your nasal congestion is due to enlarged inferior turbinates, several surgical options exist that may help. These include cauterization, coblation and radiofrequency turbinate reduction.

These procedures involve shrinking turbinates without removing bone or tissue. They typically take less than 10 minutes and can be performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia.

The Pros

Nasal turbinates are long, narrow structures in your nose that function to humidify, clean and warm the air that enters your lungs before you inhale it. When they become swollen they can lead to congestion, headaches and difficulty sleeping – yet through surgical reduction procedures that reduce turbinate size to improve airflow, you can alleviate these symptoms and breathe easier! Turbinate reduction procedures offer relief by decreasing their size to increase airflow allowing easier breathing.

Minimally invasive procedures can be performed in the office using a microdebrider, which is easier to control than laser or heat treatments and also maintains normal turbinate function.

Turbinate reduction may pose some disadvantages; for instance, if all your turbinates were to be eliminated at once, air flow through your nasal passages might cease, which could result in frequent drying and crusting inside your nose – this issue can be remedied using saline/sea salt rinses, humidifiers or by cutting back on caffeine consumption. Furthermore, your sense of smell may diminish but this is unlikely.

The Cons

Turbinates are structures found inside your nose that humidify and filter air coming through your nasal passage, acting like part of the airway in your nose. When they become enlarged due to sinus infections or allergies, they can lead to chronic nasal congestion, pain, or nosebleeds resulting in chronic nose congestion and associated discomfort.

As it turns out, these conditions can be corrected with a straightforward surgical process known as turbinate reduction surgery. This procedure will help alleviate symptoms and enhance breathing at night when snoring is most noticeable.

At this procedure, a doctor cauterizes the turbinate with a heated device to cause scar tissue formation while at the same time shrinking it. This minimally-invasive process typically lasts 10 minutes with local anesthesia administered. Patients undergoing this type of reduction procedure will need to refrain from taking blood-thinners, insulin, aspirin and any other prescription medicines for 10 days prior to and following treatment as any bleeding may be expected during and after therapy.

The Cost

Turbinates are soft bones located within the sidewalls of your nasal cavity that serve to warm and humidify air as it travels into your lungs. When they swell too much, however, they can restrict airflow leading to sinus congestion – and an ENT physician may suggest surgery as a solution should nasal sprays or medications fail to relieve your symptoms.

Surgery to address enlarged turbinates is usually an outpatient process performed in hospitals or clinics, offering people who struggle with them a solution. Prices depend on factors like surgeon costs, facility fees and anesthesia costs – more info here.

There are various turbinate reduction surgeries available, with the most prevalent one known as turbinectomy being performed to open up nasal passageways and decrease inferior turbinate size. Your surgeon will use a microdebrider, an instrument consisting of both small rotating blades and suction to remove swollen tissue from your turbinate. Or your physician might choose radiofrequency ablation which uses heat energy to shrink its volume instead.

The Recovery

Turbinate reduction (or turbinoplasty) is a surgical process to decrease the size of enlarged inferior turbinates that contribute to nasal congestion, mouth breathing, and snoring. It should only be considered after other methods like allergy medications and nasal steroid sprays have failed to relieve symptoms.

Physician Assistant Jonathan Lerma, certified through Medtronic for turbinate reduction, can perform one of several different techniques to shrink your enlarged turbinates. Depending on which approach is taken, surgery or removal may involve using tools called microdebriders with rotating blades to cut away tissue, outfracture to break apart structures in certain spots, radiofrequency coblation using energy from a small probe that stimulates submucosal tissue irritants to produce results in shrinkage or radiofrequency coblation which uses energy from small probes irritate submucosal tissue to shrink them to healthier sizes.

Recovery after turbinate reduction may include stuffiness and nose drainage; these symptoms should improve over time with frequent nasal irrigation with saline solution and cool mist humidifier use. These techniques may also help alleviate some symptoms.

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