The turbinates in the nose allow for air to be warmed and moisturised so that the lungs do not receive cold, dry air. Sometimes the lining of the turbinates swells up so much that it blocks the nose, particularly if an allergy to an inhaled particle is present (see allergy). This restricts the amount of nasal spray treatment that can be given to the nose as there is no space for it to go. Turbinate surgery can be considered to reduce the size of the turbinates and allow medication to be more effective in treating the lining. There are a number of ways this can be done and these can be discussed at your consultation. The methods used include outfracture of the turbinate bones, turbinoplasty, turbinate reduction and turbinate cautery (mucoasal and submucosal).
What to expect
A comprehensive assessment will be made in clinic to establish the cause of nasal blockage and an explanation of the advantages and risks of surgery. The type of surgery and methods used will be discussed and will depend on a number of factors. The main risk for all methods of turbinate surgery is bleeding. Most people require some sort of nasal packing afterwards but it is rare for someone to need packing that needs removing after surgery. Most of the time, absorbable packing is all that is needed.
It is essential that the nose is washed out with salty water (nasal douche) at least twice a day after this surgery. This will prevent excessive crusting and scarring inside the nose which can cause further nasal blockage if not prevented. It is also important that nasal steroids are started again soon after surgery to reduce inflammation. A review in clinic will be arranged to ensure that everything is healing well after the procedure.