Inferior Turbinate Surgery
The inferior turbinates are bony structures found in all humans. They are lined with mucosa. and function to filter, warm and humidify the air we breathe.
Inferior turbinate swelling
In some individuals, the turbinates can swell and cause nasal obstruction. This can occur with allergies or at night when lying in the dependent position. Surgery is indicated if nasal sprays do not confer benefit.
Indications for endoscopic sinus surgery
- Nasal obstruction
- Allergic rhinitis
What to expect with the procedure
Inferior turbinate reduction surgery is performed under general anaesthetic in a hospital. It is done endoscopically and entirely through the nose, with no external incisions or bruising. There are several ways to reduce the size of the turbinates. In younger children a special instrument is used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the internal structure of the turbinate to shrink it down. In older children and adults, part of the bone and mucosa is normally removed. This generally has a longer lasting effect. Dissolvable packing is usually applied after surgery to reduce any post-operative ooze. The procedure normally takes 30 minutes.
After a short period in recovery, you will be transferred to a ward. Here you will be observed for 24 hours before being discharged home. It is not uncommon to have some oozing from the nose and to feel some nasal congestion initially. The nursing staff will show you how to perform post-operative Flo irrigations the day after surgery which is essential for post-operative healing.
Most people do not experience too much pain from surgery and typically only require paracetamol when they are discharged home from hospital. Stronger pain relief is prescribed if required. Due to the internal swelling from the surgery, it is not unusual to feel congested for the first week after surgery and experience bloody ooze from the nose. I recommend that you irrigate your nose with FLO sinus irrigation 2-4x day after surgery (until your first post-op review) to remove any clots and dissolvable packing material. Usually you will require 1 week off school
I will usually review you at 6 weeks after the procedure.