Types of nasalturbinate surgery

Nasal turbinate surgery is done through your nostrils

There are two main ways of relieving nasal obstruction caused by an enlarged nasal turbinate: reducing its size (turbinoplasty) or removing the turbinate. Your surgeon will work out which is the best method for you, depending on how enlarged your turbinate is.

Turbinate reduction (turbinoplasty)

Your surgeon inserts a keyhole camera (nasal endoscope), to see the inside of your nose. After assessing your turbinates, they lift off the mucous membrane, which is the tissue covering the turbinate, then use an instrument called a microdebrider to remove the underlying turbinate soft tissue.

They’ll also resect the bone of the turbinate to further increase the space inside your nose. Finally, your surgeon replaces the mucous membrane. Your nose may be packed with dissolvable dressing or cotton gauze.

Turbinate reduction can be performed in a number of other ways, including using electrocautery, coblation, radiofrequency ablation or laser. These techniques can be effective in reducing the size of your turbinate by shrinking the underlying tissue without actually removing it. Talk to your surgeon about the best choice for you and the likely outcome.

Turbinate removal (resection)

Turbinate removal may also be done using a camera, although a headlight can be used instead. After assessing your turbinates, the surgeon uses scissors to remove the turbinate. Again your nose may be packed with dissolvable dressing or cotton gauze.

Nasal turbinate surgery may be performed at the same time as nasal septum surgery, nasal polyp removal or endoscopic sinus surgery.

Which surgery is best for me?

There’s no evidence to show that one method of turbinate reduction is any better than another. The type of surgery you have will depend on your problem, your surgeon’s assessment of your turbinates and their preferred surgical techniques.

Print this page and take it with you when you discuss your procedure with your surgeon.

Results vs risks of the procedure

The benefits and risks of nasal turbinate surgery.


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