Reduction Of Turbinates (Turbinectomy)

Reduction of turbinates is a procedure carried out under general anaesthetic

What is a turbinate?

The turbinates are bony shelves in your nose covered by glandular tissue rich in blood vessels and nerves. The turbinates help regulate the flow of air through your nose. Most of the air you breathe in moves between the lower (inferior) and middle turbinates.  The air is being filtered, warmed and moistened by the mucosa (lining tissue). The inferior turbinates can sometimes become permanently enlarged and block your nose.  In such cases surgery to reduce the turbinates can improve the nasal airway.

Who does the operation?

All of our consultants are able to carry out this procedure. They take place under general anaesthetic and the operation takes approximately one hour. Patients will usually go home on the day of the operation.

Before the Operation

You can help to ensure success of your operation and avoid complications by following a few simple steps.  Stop smoking (if you do) at least 4 weeks prior to the procedure.   Maintain a healthy weight and taking regular exercise.

The Operation

The operation is performed through the nostrils and does not result in any facial scars or black eyes. Reducing the size of turbinates involves one of the following techniques:-

  1. Diathermy – passing an electric current through a needle placed on the surface of the turbinate or inside the tissue;
  2. Trimming – cutting away the lower or outer part of the turbinate. This can be done using a fine instrument called a microdebrider, under guidance of a surgical telescope.

Your nose may be packed with a dressing which is either absorbable or will be removed by nursing staff before you are discharged from the hospital.

After the operation

For the first 24 hours after a general anaesthetic, you should not drive, sign any legal documents, operate machinery or do any potentially dangerous activities (including cooking). Alcohol should also be avoided for 24 hours. After the procedure you may be in some pain and the nursing staff will give you medication to help control this. You may have some bleeding for up to 7-10 days following the procedure. Gently rinsing the nose with a saline solution can help clear blood clots and mucous- you will be given a leaflet to explain this in more detail. Do not do any strenuous exercise for the first fortnight as this could cause a nosebleed.

Is a follow up appointment required?

A follow up appointments will be arranged as required.