Sometimes the inferior turbinates enlarge resulting in permanent blockage of your nose. If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, your consultant may recommend a turbinectomy.
Your turbinates are bony shelves in your nose covered by tissue that is rich in blood vessels and nerves.They help to regulate the flow of air through your nose. Most of the air you breathe in moves between your lower (inferior) and middle turbinates and is filtered, warmed and moistened through your mucosa (skin-like lining of the inside of your nose).
What happens during a turbinectomy?
A turbinectomy is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes about 15-30 minutes. It is performed through your nostrils so you will not have any surgical wounds or scarring.
Reducing your enlarged turbinates can be done in several ways:
- Diathermy - an electric current is passed through a needle placed either on the surface of your turbinate or inside the tissue. Heat destroys tissue cells and causes tissue to contract (shrink) decreasing any bleeding.
- Trimming - removing part of the turbinate. This may involve removing some bone and covering the exposed area with tissue.
You surgeon may pack your nasal passage. The packing will be removed before you leave hospital. Very often a turbinectomy is performed along with a procedure to correct a deviated septum (Septoplasty).
Your length of stay in hospital will depend on the extent of your surgery.
Going home after turbinectomy
You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home on your day of discharge.
Your nose may feel blocked and may release some blood stained fluid for up to 2 weeks following your operation. You should avoid any strenuous activity at this time. You will need to stay off work and away from groups of people for 2 weeks. This is to avoid getting a cold that could result in infection.
Most people make a good recovery from turbinectomy. As with any surgical procedure there may by complications including:
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis – DVT)
Specific complications of turbinectomy may include:
- Scarring in turbinates
- Crusting within your nose
- Nasal discharge
- Blocked nose symptoms return.
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