Nasal turbinates are important shelf-like structures inside the nose that trap dirt and other particles so they can’t enter your lungs. They also humidify the air you breathe in, helping your lungs operate more effectively.
There are three of these bony and soft-tissue structures on each side of the nose. The inferior turbinates have the greatest impact on nasal airflow. They can become irritated by allergies or other conditions and become enlarged, causing your nasal airway to become blocked and resulting in annoying symptoms.
Medication is usually the first type of treatment used to address enlarged turbinates and the symptoms they cause. In many cases, however, they don’t provide enough relief or cause irritating side effects. Other treatments may be needed to reduce the size of the turbinates and relieve your symptoms.
Your doctor may recommend a turbinate reduction procedure. This shrinks the structures without harming any surrounding tissue. Your turbinates and other nasal structures will still retain their natural function, and you’ll have years of relief from irritating symptoms.
What are the symptoms of enlarged turbinates?
Symptoms of enlarged turbinates include:
- Facial pain
- Turbinate hypertrophy (enlargement of the turbinates that can block airways)
- Chronic stuffy nose
- Mouth breathing
- Dry mouth and throat
- Thick post-nasal drainage
- Occasional to frequent sinus infections
What is a turbinate reduction?
A turbinate reduction is a quick, painless in-office procedure that can provide years of relief from the annoying symptoms associated with enlarged turbinates. Patients have a very fast recovery period and a low incidence of side effects after the procedure.
Turbinate reduction offers immediate and dramatic results in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea and also provides significant relief from chronic nasal obstruction.
What’s involved in a turbinate reduction procedure?
Local anesthesia is used. Using a specialized probe, radio frequency energy is used to precisely target the tissues and reduce the turbinates from within without harming surrounding tissues.
Because a low temperature is used, the mucous membranes are not affected. This is important because they secrete mucus that performs an important function – trapping small particles such as dust and bacteria and preventing them from entering your lungs. Protecting these membranes also ensures that the inside of your nose will remain moist afterward, which keeps it from becoming dry and crusty.
The procedure takes only about 15 minutes and can be done in-office. Since the tissue isn’t actually cut, there’s little or no bleeding involved, and pain is also minimal. No nasal packing is required after a turbinate reduction, and most patients don’t need any pain medication. You can usually resume your normal activities immediately afterward.
What are the benefits of a turbinate reduction?
Swollen turbinates can obstruct breathing and increase nasal congestion.
Turbinate congestion can help accomplish the following:
- Treat severe or chronic nasal obstruction
- Relieve nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, and drainage
- Reduce sinus-related snoring and associated problems, such as daytime fatigue
- Improve breathing
Where can I find a turbinate reduction in Atlanta?
Our board-certified otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) specialize in treating nasal obstructions, snoring, and other related conditions.
We’ll work with you to find the best treatment options for your specific conditions. If a turbinate reduction procedure would help you, we’ll explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.
Take the first step toward a better night’s sleep and a healthier lifestyle for you and your partner. Contact one of our three convenient Atlanta Snoring Institute locations today to learn more about turbinate reduction.