Have Bad Allergies? You May Need Turbinate Reduction Surgery

If you have bad seasonal allergies, it is a possibility that the turbinates in your nose have become enlarged. This blocks your nasal passage and makes it more difficult to breathe. When allergies already make breathing difficult, you don't need anything else obstructing your airways.

An ear, nose and throat specialist will be able to diagnose this condition if it is present in your nose. If you are eligible for surgery, it can be done in an outpatient procedure. Educate yourself about turbinate reduction before you elect to have surgery. 

What Are Turbinates?

Turbinates are bones within the nasal passage that help to humidify and warm air as it enters the body. They are made of a spongy type of bone that has the ability to change in size and shape. The bones protrude into the nasal cavity in order to block debris from entering the sinuses. Allergy or infection can cause them to enlarge and block the nasal passage. 

What Occurs During Surgery?

Surgery can be performed to shave down the size of the turbinates. They will still perform their function normally, but the procedure will create more space in the nasal cavity for more normal breathing.

A patient will typically be placed under general anesthesia to have this surgical procedure. The surgeon will use an endoscope in order to light the nasal cavity and magnify the tiny space. All incisions in the nose will be internal and will not leave any scarring on the outer, visible part of the nose. 

The lining mucosa of the turbinate will be cut and the turbinate bone will be shaved and then cauterized. 

This procedure is usually fairly short and should not take more than 2 hours. 

What Can I Expect During Recovery?

During recovery you will experience intense pain in the nose along with bleeding and dryness.

More room in the airway, which you are not used to, may cause your nasal passage to feel cold and overly dry. This may also lead to a sore throat. You will be asked to use a nasal/sinus rinse to improve this condition.

You will typically be prescribed a narcotic pain medication to alleviate the pain as best as possible. Along with the anesthesia given during surgery and the narcotic, come many side effects. You may experience nausea, headaches, constipation, difficulty urinating, vomiting, drowsiness or lightheadedness. Be sure to get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids. Your recovery should be complete within 10-14 days. 

If you feel you may have enlarged turbinates that are obstructing clear breathing, consult an ear, nose and throat specialist—such as Southwest Idaho Ear Nose & Throat PA—to see if you are a candidate for surgery. Having the surgery can improve your overall ability to breathe.