What are nasal turbinates?

Nasal turbinates are fleshy prominences inside the walls of your nasal cavity. They are made up of thin bone and expansile vascular tissue and are covered by nasal mucosa. There are normally 3 or 4 turbinates per nostril. If you suffer with nasal allergies or other chronic sinus conditions, your turbinates can become congested, causing them to enlarge and block your nasal airway.


What is turbinoplasty (also called turbinectomy)?

Turbinoplasty is a surgical procedure performed reduced the size of the inferior turbninate thus improving your nasal airway and relieving nasal blockage. This is not intended to be a cure for your nasal allergies. Turbinoplasty allows more space in your nose so that you can breathe easier and also for the corticosteroid nasal sprays commonly prescribed for nasal allergies to work more effectively.


How does the procedure work?

This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure using specialised cameras (endoscopes) and instruments inside the nose. Various techniques can be used to reduce the size of the turbinates (including heat or specialised shavers to shrink the excessively enlarged tissue of the turbinate).


Why is it performed?

This procedure is only recommended for patients who struggle to breath through the nose as a result of swollen or blocked turbinates. Your doctor will typically recommend the procedure if all other treatments have been unsuccessful, including the use allergy sprays and medications.


How should I prepare for the procedure?

Endoscopic turbinoplasty is always performed under general anaesthetic in a hospital. You will be given specific instructions before your date of surgery instructing you when to stop eating/drinking and specific medication that may needed before or after surgery. 


What can I expect after the surgery?

A dissolvable material is placed into the nasal cavities after the surgery to help with healing and to minimise the risk of potential bleeding. There are no cuts made on the face or nose.  We pay very careful attention to managing your pain after the procedure. Once at home, you will be asked to gently wash out the nose with a salt-water preparation. This helps clear the nasal passages. You will still be required to use your allergy medication to control other symptoms of allergic rhinitis and also to prevent the turbinates from becoming enlarged again.