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The 3 Best Surgery Solutions for Turbinate Hypertrophy

Updated: 19 hours ago

Turbinate hypertrophy occurs when the turbinates, tiny structures within your nose that cleanse and humidify the air you breathe, become enlarged.

This enlargement can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms, impacting your ability to breathe easily and affecting your overall quality of life.

What is Turbinate Hypertrophy?

A woman experiencing pain from turbinate hypertrophy

Turbinate hypertrophy might sound like a complicated term, but it simply means the turbinates in your nose are bigger than normal.

These turbinates are essential because they help clean, warm up, and moisten the air you breathe in.

The signs of turbinate hypertrophy are hard to miss. They include:

  • Constant stuffy nose, usually worse on one side.

  • Trouble breathing through the nose.

  • Nosebleeds often.

  • Not being able to smell well.

But why do these turbinates get bigger? A few things can cause this problem:

  • Allergies

  • Environmental irritants

  • Infections

  • Hormonal changes

One important thing that's often missed is air quality. Bad air inside, full of irritants and allergens, can make turbinate hypertrophy worse.

This is especially true in cities where there's more pollution.

When Should I Think About Surgery for Turbinate Hypertrophy?

An ENT specialist examining a patient's nose to determine if surgery is needed.

Sometimes, treatments that don't involve surgery work well, but there might be a time when surgery is the best way to help with the symptoms of swollen nasal tissues.

Knowing when to switch from treatments without surgery to thinking about Turbinate Hypertrophy surgery is very important.

You might consider surgery if:

  • Treatments Without Surgery Don't Work

  • It's Affecting Your Life a Lot

  • There's a Physical Problem

Talking with a doctor specializing in ear, nose, and throat problems is essential. They can look at your specific case and suggest what to do next.

3 Best Surgical Options and Procedures for Turbinate Hypertrophy

Turbinate hypertrophy surgery aims to reduce the size of the turbinates, improving airflow through the nose.

Several surgical techniques are available, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Understanding these options can help you make an informed decision in consultation with your doctor.

1. Turbinectomy

This procedure involves removing a portion of the turbinate to open up the nasal passage. It can be performed using various tools, including microdebriders or lasers.

Pros: Effective in significantly reducing nasal obstruction.

Cons: There's a risk of excessive dryness in the nasal passages post-surgery, as some mucosal lining is removed.

2. Turbinate Reduction (Submucous Resection)

This method reduces the bone within the turbinate while preserving most of the mucosal lining. This is often done using a microdebrider or a cautery tool.

Pros: Less risk of nasal dryness compared to turbinectomy while still effectively reducing turbinate size.

Cons: It may not be as effective for severely enlarged turbinates.

3. Radiofrequency Turbinate Reduction

This minimally invasive procedure uses radiofrequency energy to create

lesions within the turbinate, reducing its size over time.

Pros: Lower risk of bleeding and a quicker recovery time. It's often performed under local anesthesia.

Cons: Multiple treatments may be needed for optimal results.

Risks and Complications

A doctor gathering medical equipment for surgery

Like any surgery, fixing swollen nasal tissues (turbinate hypertrophy) can have risks and problems.

Knowing about these helps you make a wise choice and prepare for the best results.

Some usual risks of this nose surgery are:

  • Infection: Any surgery can lead to an infection, but this risk is pretty low for nose surgeries.

  • Temporary Changes in Smell and Taste: These changes usually don't last long but might feel strange.

  • Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS): This rare issue happens when too much tissue is taken out, making the nose feel dry and hard to breathe through, even though it seems open.

  • Adhesions: Scar tissue might form between the nasal tissues and the middle part of the nose, which might need more treatment.

Success Rates and Long-Term Outcomes

This surgery usually works well, with many people seeing big improvements in how well they can breathe through their nose and in their overall life quality.

Overall Success Rate: Research shows that about 70-90% of people feel a lot better in terms of nose blockage after the surgery.

Understanding the success rates and long-term outcomes of turbinate hypertrophy surgery is essential for setting realistic expectations and planning for the future.


Dealing with swollen nasal tissues and figuring out how to treat them can be challenging, but having the correct info and help makes it easier to handle.

Choosing to have surgery for swollen nasal tissues, like any health decision, needs careful thought and being well-informed.

By knowing all about the issue, treatment options, and what recovery involves, you can make good choices for your health.

What is turbinate hypertrophy?

Turbinate hypertrophy is a condition where the turbinates, structures in the nose that humidify and filter air, become enlarged. This can lead to symptoms like nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and reduced sense of smell.

Are there effective treatments other than surgery?

 When should I consider surgery for turbinate hypertrophy?

What are the different types of turbinate surgery?

What are the risks associated with turbinate surgery?

 What does recovery from turbinate surgery involve?

How successful is turbinate hypertrophy surgery?

How much does turbinate surgery cost, and will insurance cover it?

Can turbinate hypertrophy recur after surgery?

How do I prepare for turbinate surgery?


The following resources can be invaluable for further reading and more detailed information.

Cleveland Clinic - Turbinate Reduction: Provides a detailed overview of turbinate reduction, including the reasons for the procedure and what to expect.

Stanford Health Care - Types of Nasal Surgery: A comprehensive guide to different types of nasal surgeries, including turbinate reduction, with a focus on procedural details.

St. Louis Sinus Center - Turbinate Reduction Surgery: Offers specific information on turbinate reduction surgery, especially in the context of inferior turbinate hypertrophy.

Nationwide Children's - Turbinate Surgery: This resource is particularly useful for understanding pediatric concerns and approaches in turbinate surgery.

Mayo Clinic Health System - Turbinate Hypertrophy: Provides a comprehensive look at turbinate hypertrophy, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

These resources offer a wealth of information and can be a great starting point for anyone looking to understand more about turbinate hypertrophy and its treatments.


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