Understanding Turbinate Reduction: A Solution for Sleep Apnea

Turbinate Reduction

Nasal turbinates play an important role in health. However, they can also causes a great deal of discomfort when they are too large. A turbinate reduction can remove many of this discomfort but many people have reservations. Will a turbinate reduction affect the function of the nose? Understanding the benefits and results of this procedure can help you to make an educated decision.

The Role of Turbinates

Nasal turbinates are an important part of your nose. These structures are hard cartilage projections on the inside wall of your nostrils. Their main role is to moisturize and warm air that you inhale so it does not irritate the lungs. In addition, the turbinates play a role in removing particles such as dust from the air we breathe. There are three pairs of turbinates, with the inferior ones the largest. These are also the most likely to cause symptoms when they are enlarged.

However, the turbinates do not always work as they are intended. For some people, they grow so large that they cause a variety of negative symptoms.

There are several causes of enlarged turbinates, which is also called turbinate hypertrophy. Some people are simply born with larger turbinates or very small nasal air passages. In some cases, this develops during pregnancy or other conditions with high levels of certain hormones. Long-term allergies also can cause hypertrophy of the turbines. Regardless of the reason, this symptom can cause a great deal of discomfort and even pain.

Who Needs a Turbinate Reduction?

Enlarged turbinates usually do not cause an obstruction on their own. However, people with a deviated septum may find themselves unable to breathe through their nose when their turbinates grow too large. And addition, people with allergies often have swelling of the tissues in their nose. When this happens, enlarged turbinates can obstruct breathing, cause facial pain and pressure, nose bleeds, snoring, and even cause headaches.

Many different factors can contribute to obstructed breathing from enlarged turbinates. in these situations, there are many treatment options. Some medications can reduce swelling in the nose to reduce symptoms temporarily. However, the only permanent solution is to get a surgery that reduces the size of your nasal turbinates.

If you have been having symptoms from turbinate hypertrophy, surgery may be the best solution for you. In many cases, this will permanently resolve your symptoms and make it so you can breathe easier.

How Is a Turbinate Reduction Performed?

Nasal turbinates reduction is usually performed under general anesthesia, which means that you will go to sleep and not remember any of the procedure. The surgeon will then remove part of your turbinates. This can include cartilage, but often is just the submucosal tissue that lines the cartilage. The intent is to leave the turbinates intact so that they can continue to perform their function.

In most cases, the surgery is performed on both sides of the nose that once. This is because problems on one side of the nose often will later appear on the other. This is usually a very short procedure, taking around a half hour. After this, you will be taken out from under anesthesia. Most people can head home the same day.

Will Nasal Turbinate Function Be Affected?

In most cases, the function of nasal turbinates is not affected by surgery. In fact, they may function even better. When you have trouble breathing through your nose, you are likely to breathe through your mouth. This means that the air will enter your lungs without being warmed, moistened, or having particles removed.

In addition, most people see an immediate end to other symptoms such as headaches and nosebleeds. You may even find that you no longer snore.

There is always a risk of side effects with medical procedures. Many people feel sleepy after the procedure due to anesthesia. Many also may have mild amounts of pain. While this is usually relieved by over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, some people may need prescription pain medication as well.

There are other side effects, but they are very rare. Most people find that they feel better almost immediately and are completely recovered within weeks.

Are You Ready to Make a Change?

If you are considering having this or any other ear, nose and throat surgery, Hudson Valley Sinus Center is ready to consult. Our practice includes renowned ENT surgeon Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein. Dr. Rubinstein has the specialized training needed to produce a functional and aesthetically attractive result, which is why he is one of the top ENT surgeons in the region. If you are interested in a turbinate reduction in Hudson Valley, call his office today to schedule a consultation