Turbinates are tiny nodules made of bone and soft tissue inside the nose that clean and humidify the air you breathe before it moves into your lungs. These turbinates are coated in tiny hairs, known as cilia, that remove debris from the air before it reaches the lungs, warm the air to body temperature, and add moisture to it. In some people, these bones swell – creating breathing challenges and other difficulties like snoring, facial pain, congestion and sinus infections. When this occurs, a turbinate reduction with Dr. Ridgway can correct this abnormality and provide you with long-lasting symptom relief. See Dr. Ridgway for some excellent Turbinate Reduction results from a trusted Bellevue rhinoplasty surgeon.
A Solution for Nasal Obstruction
Nasal obstruction occurs when, for whatever reason, the nasal passage is blocked or narrowed, impeding regular airflow and causing difficulties breathing. We’ve all experienced some degree of nasal obstruction at one point or another, due to allergies, a common cold, or a sinus infection, but these cases are temporary and generally resolve themselves within a short matter of time. Ongoing cases of nasal obstruction are commonly caused by a deviated septum (a condition in which the tissue which separates the nostrils is off-center, narrowing one of the nasal passageways) or enlarged turbinates. It is not unusual for these two conditions to be present concurrently, compounding the problem, so a turbinate reduction can also be performed at the same time as a septoplasty -- the surgical procedure used to correct a deviated septum.
Patients with nasal obstruction have difficulty breathing, as the nasal passage is not wide and clear enough to permit easy airflow. Sometimes, patients will try to compensate for these difficulties by breathing through their mouths, which can cause a sensation of dry mouth. Individuals also frequently report having trouble sleeping as a result of nasal obstruction.
Turbinate Reduction Procedure
Enlarged turbinates can occur when either the bones or the soft tissue become inflamed. Many patients see dramatic improvements in their symptoms by using medication alone, but if the problem persists, it may be time to consider a functional rhinoplasty to alleviate your symptoms.
To begin your turbinate reduction, Dr. Ridgway will administer either local or general anesthesia to ensure your comfort and safety. From there, he will use an endoscope (a tiny instrument with a light and camera attached to the end) to gain an inside view of the nose. He will then remove tiny portions of the turbinate bones that are obstructing your breathing. There are multiple approaches to surgical turbinate reduction, and Dr. Ridgway will discuss the options with you to determine which option is best for you:
- Partial Turbinate Removal. The turbinates perform multiple crucial functions in purifying and preparing air to enter the lungs during inhalation, so it is rarely, if ever, advisable to remove the entire turbinate. Doing so would result in an extremely dry nose, prone to frequent nosebleeds. A common method used for removing a portion of the turbinate is called submucosal resection. With this method, the membrane holding the turbinate is left intact, while part of the soft tissue inside is removed. It is also possible to make a small incision in the turbinate’s lining and use this incision to remove the small bones inside, leaving the rest. Occasionally, with partial removals, the tissue will later regrow, necessitating an additional procedure -- but this is preferable to removing too much and impairing nasal function.
- Shrinking Without Removal. It is also possible to use a variety of methods to shrink the turbinate without actually removing any tissue. This can be accomplished by cauterizing the tissue using heat, radiofrequency waves, lasers, or even an acidic chemical. These procedures can often be performed right in the doctor’s office, and consist of intentionally damaging a small portion of the turbinate so that scar tissue will then regrow smaller. A downside of this method is that some cilia function may be lost.
Once your procedure is complete, you will be able to return home to begin the rhinoplasty recovery process, which typically lasts about one week. It is possible that the doctor will pack your nose with cotton for the first day or two after the procedure, but this is often not necessary. Once your healing process is complete, you can expect your breathing to improve, while your other symptoms also subside substantially.
Plastic Surgery Team Serving Bellevue
At Newvue Plastic Surgery, we are dedicated solely to cosmetic solutions for the face, and this specific concentration allows us to focus all our efforts on staying on the cutting edge of facial aesthetics and to offer high-quality, precise care, every time. As a lead Bellevue plastic surgeon at the practice, Dr. James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS, believes that a well-informed patient is at the heart of every procedure. When you entrust your care to us, you can rest assured that we will provide you with all the information and options you need at every step of the way. To learn more about our surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic interventions, contact us today.Schedule a consultation