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Turbinate Reduction Surgery - Diagnosis & Recovery

Are you looking for the best healthcare center for turbinate reduction surgery in India? Visit Pristyn Care to consult our top ENT surgeons, who have ample experience in performing safe and effective turbinate reduction surgery. Book an appointment near you right away.

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    Dr. Neha B Lund (KLood9WpKW)

    Dr. Neha B Lund

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    Dr. Manu Bharath

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    Bangalore

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    Dr. Divya Badanidiyur

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  • What is turbinate reduction surgery?

    Turbinate reduction is a surgical procedure performed to improve airflow in people with chronic nasal congestion. It is also known as nasal turbinate reduction and inferior turbinate reduction. Turbinate reduction surgery helps in removing the excess tissue around the turbinate bones so you can breathe easier. Turbinates are tiny structures inside the nose. They cleanse, heat, and humidify air as it passes through the nasal cavity and into the lungs.

    Turbinate reduction is a common surgical procedure. It can be performed alone or in combination with other treatments, such as septoplasty or rhinoplasty. It is an outpatient procedure and usually takes 10 minutes. The surgery is performed under the influence of local anesthesia. Usually, there’s no pain in the recovery process, no change in the physical aspect, and no long-term side effects, such as loss of olfactory perception.

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    Types of Turbinate Reduction Surgery

    Different types of turbinate reduction surgery are as follows:

    • Turbinectomy or turbinate resection: In this type of technique, either all or part of the inferior (lower) turbinate is removed. During the procedure, a lighted camera called an endoscope, is placed into the nose, and a tiny, high-speed device called a microdebrider is used to shave away the extra tissue and suction it out. The technique is performed under the influence of general anesthesia but can also be done under local anesthesia.
    • Turbinoplasty: It is also known as outfracture technique. During the procedure, a tool is placed into the nose in order to change the positioning of the turbinates. Depending on the severity of the nasal obstruction, some turbinate tissue may be shaved off. The surgery is performed under the influence of general or local anesthesia. 
    • Radiofrequency Ablation: In this technique, a thin probe (usually an endoscope) is inserted into the nose, and radiofrequency energy is used to shrink down the turbinates. Out of all the techniques, this one is the most minimally invasive and can be performed in a healthcare provider’s clinic using local anesthesia. If the turbinate grows back, this procedure can be repeated later.

    Are you going through any of these symptoms?

    Diagnostic Tests Before Turbinate Reduction

    Before turbinate reduction, a healthcare provider suggests a variety of diagnostic tests to understand the severity of the condition and to identify any underlying health condition that may complicate the surgery. Some common diagnostic tests are as follows:

    • Blood tests: A healthcare provider usually suggests blood tests to identify any health conditions or diseases that may complicate the surgery.  
    • Physical examination: During a physical examination doctor usually asks about the medical history and medications. 
    • Nasal endoscopy: Nasal endoscopy is a procedure to look at the nasal and sinus passages. It is performed with an endoscope. An endoscope is a thin, flexible, or rigid tube with a tiny camera and a light.

    Turbinate Reduction Procedure

    Turbinate reduction surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure. In most cases, the procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia. During turbinate reduction surgery, a surgeon carefully shrinks the turbinate tissues. It can be done using one of several techniques, including

    • Cauterization: In this procedure, a heated probe is placed inside of the nose to close off the blood vessels in the turbinates. This results in reduced blood flow, which shrinks the turbinate tissues. 
    • Radiofrequency turbinate reduction: During this procedure, radiofrequency ablation is used. It is a long thin probe that delivers heat energy to your inflamed turbinates, forming scar tissue. It leads to the shrinking of turbinate tissues.   
    • Coblation: The term coblation means controlled ablation. Like radiofrequency reduction, coblation uses heat energy to shrink the turbinate tissues. However, this method uses a lower temperature to keep surrounding tissues intact. 
    • Microdebrider submucosal resection: In this procedure, a surgeon creates a small opening in the turbinate. They remove the tissue through that opening but leave the outer lining in place. As healing occurs, turbinates shrink.   
    • Partial resection: This procedure involves removing a small piece of turbinate. Unlike other methods, partial resection removes both soft and hard tissue.  

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    Benefits of Turbinate Reduction

    Some common benefits of turbinate reduction include:

    • Better sleep cycle: Once the turbinate reduction clears the nasal passageway, allowing to have better airflow and more comfortable sleep at night.
    • Less frequent headaches: If the turbinates are swollen, it can result in tension or pressure in the head, leading to frequent headaches. After the procedure, turbinates are no longer swollen and won’t cause tension headaches.   
    • Clear sinuses: Inflamed turbinates cause congestion in the sinuses. After turbinate reduction you’ll experience less nasal congestion, making it easier to breathe.  
    • Reduces chances of sinusitis: Frequent sinus infections causes facial pain, nasal congestion, fever and headaches. Turbinate reduction help to reduce the chances of getting frequent infections. 

    Preparation Before Turbinate Reduction Surgery

    Listed below are some preparation tips to follows to prepare yourself for turbinate reduction surgery:

    • Consult a doctor: During the consultation, a doctor will provide specific instructions about what medications you should avoid and which you can continue to take. They will also tell you when to stop eating and drinking leading up to the surgery. 
    • Avoid smoking: A healthcare provider usually suggests avoiding smoking, chewing tobacco, and vaping 4 weeks before surgery to avoid the chances of any complications.
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs: You must avoid alcohol 24 hours before surgery. Stop marijuana in any form 1 week before surgery.

    Follow diet: Try to stay in good health. Ensure that you are eating and sleeping well. You must avoid eating 8 hours before surgery.

    Recovery After Turbinate Reduction Surgery

    Recovery after turbinate reduction surgery varies from individual to individual. It also depends on the severity of the condition, how much excess tissue had to be removed, and whether the turbinate surgery was combined with another sinus-opening procedure such as balloon sinus dilation.

    Complete turbinate reduction recovery can take up to six weeks. For less turbinate reductions, recovery is usually quick and not very painful. You must avoid strenuous activities and blowing your nose for several weeks after the surgery. Your doctor may also recommend you elevate your head while sleeping to avoid irritating your nose. 

    Risk & Complications Associated with Turbinate Reduction Surgery

    Turbinate reduction surgery is usually safe and effective, but like any surgical procedure,, it also carries certain risks and complications, including,

    • Scar tissue or crusting in the nose
    • A hole in the tissue that divides the sides of the nose (septum)
    • Loss of feeling in the skin on the nose
    • Change in the sense of smell
    • Fluid buildup in the nose
    • Return of the nasal blockage after surgery
    • Bleeding

    Lifestyle Changes After Turbinate Reduction

    After turbinate reduction surgery, you must adopt some lifestyle changes to promote healing after surgery:

    • Managing bleeding: Some bleeding and discharge are normal in the first few weeks after nasal surgery. If bleeding persists, sit forwards slightly, pinch your nostrils closed, and breathe through your mouth, spitting out any blood if you need to.   
    • Managing nasal congestion: Your nose will feel blocked until the swelling goes down, it may take at least 2 weeks. Sleeping and resting with your elevated on 2 pillows can relieve congestion.  
    • Restrictions on activities: During healing, you must avoid blowing your nose. You must avoid heavy lifting or playing sports as it can delay recovery. 
    • Managing pain: After surgery, you may have a feeling of pressure in your nose and some pain for several days. A healthcare provider usually suggests painkillers to cope with pain. However, you must avoid taking aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or diclofenac, as they can increase the risk of nosebleeds.
    • Avoiding infections: During the healing process, stay away from people with colds or chest infections to reduce the risk of infection.   
    • Avoiding smoke and dust: Avoid smoke and dust as they can increase the risk of infection. 
    • Follow-up: It is important to attend all follow-up consultations with your healthcare provider to check that your nose is cleared of blood and fluid.

    Cost of Turbinate Reduction Surgery

    The cost of turbinate reduction surgery in India typically ranges from INR 40,000 to INR 60,000. This is the estimated cost of surgery; the final cost of surgery can vary depending on various factors, including,

    • Surgeon’s fee
    • Cost of diagnostic tests
    • Cost of hospitalization
    • Choice of the hospital
    • Any pre-existing health condition
    • Cost of medications
    • Any pre-existing health condition
    • Cost of anesthesia

    Does Insurance Cover Turbinate Reduction Surgery?

    Yes! The turbinate reduction procedure is covered under insurance. However, the specifics of the policy can vary from policy to policy. You must consult your healthcare provider before surgery to understand the specifics of the policy. 

    Questions to Ask Your Surgeon Before Turbinate Reduction Surgery

    Before undergoing turbinate reduction surgery, it is important to ask the following questions to the surgeon to have a better understanding of the procedure, potential advantages and risks, and complications associated with it:

    • What is the turbinate reduction surgery success rate?
    • What are the potential advantages of turbinate reduction?
    • What are the risks and complications associated with turbinate reduction?
    • What is the recovery period for turbinate reduction surgery?
    • What precautions do I need to take after the turbinate reduction surgery to promote healing?
    • Can I shrink my turbinates without surgery?
    • What is the best method for turbinate reduction?
    • Do turbinates grow back after the surgery?
    • What are the risk factors for turbinate reduction surgery?
    • Is turbinate reduction a major surgery?
    • What are the restrictions after turbinate surgery?
    • What can I eat after turbinate surgery? 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the symptoms of enlarged turbinates?

    You may have large turbinates if you have one or more of the following symptoms – constant nasal congestion, difficulty breathing through the nose, snoring, frequent nosebleeds, and recurring sinusitis.

    Is bleeding normal after turbinate surgery?

    A little bleeding is normal after turbinate surgery as turbinates have a very strong blood supply, but if you notice too much bleeding, you should consult your surgeon as it may be a sign of complications.

    Will I get sutures after turbinate reduction?

    No, generally, if turbinate reduction is not being performed in conjunction with any other surgery, then the patient will not get any sutures.

    Does turbinate reduction affect nasal or facial appearance?

    No, turbinate reduction is a functional procedure and does not affect facial or nasal appearance at all.

    Is turbinate reduction surgery painful?

    Turbinate surgery is an outpatient procedure and is usually performed under the influence of general anesthesia, which makes the procedure pain-free.

    Is turbinate reduction a good idea?

    Turbinate reduction is a safe and effective procedure for improving airflow in people with chronic nasal obstruction. It helps in removing the size of turbinates by removing excess tissue. 

    How can I reduce turbinates naturally?

    In some cases, enlarged inferior turbinates can be managed with conservative measures such as

    • Saline nasal spray: This can help in reducing swelling and congestion.
    • Humidifier: It can help to keep the air inside your home or office moist, which can reduce irritation and inflammation of the tissue lining the inside of your nose. 
    • Nasal strips:  These can help to open up the nasal passages and improve airflow.

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    Content Reviewed By
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    Dr. Neha B Lund
    14 Years Experience Overall
    Last Updated : May 28, 2024

    Types of turbinate reduction surgery

    Cauterization

    During this method, a heated probe is inserted inside the nose to close some of the blood vessels placed inside the turbinates, which reduces the blood flow in the turbinates and shrinks them in size.

    Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Turbinate Reduction

    During RFA treatment, a long, thin probe is inserted in the nasal cavity. The probe delivers heat energy to the inflamed turbinates which shrinks the turbinates and forms scar tissue over them.

    Coblation Turbinate Reduction

    Coblation surgery is performed using a specialized ‘coblation’ device that provides controlled lower temperature to the turbinates to shrink only the needed structure while preserving the surrounding tissues.

    Microdebrider Submucosal Resection

    During this procedure, the surgeon creates a small opening on the turbinate to remove the bone inside the turbinates to shrink their size while leaving the outer turbinate lining in place so the recovery is quicker.

    Partial Resection

    Partial resection treatment involves removal of a part of the turbinates surgically to reduce their size. This is the only procedure that is performed under general anesthesia and is generally combined with septoplasty procedure.