Turbinate reduction surgery is a standard procedure for individuals suffering from chronic nasal congestion and blocked nostrils. Inside the nose are three sets of turbinates (inferior, middle, and superior) characterized according to their location. These structures are made of small bone and covered by soft tissue and mucosa called respiratory epithelium. Their sole purpose is to filter, humidify and moisturize the air we breathe to keep germs and irritants from getting into the lungs. The most commonly affected turbinates the cause problems for patients are the inferior and middle turbinates.
When exposed to irritants or allergens in the air or in times of illness (cold or flu), the inferior and middle turbinates are often the first affected. Inflammation and swelling caused by allergies, irritation, or injury can trigger swelling, mucous buildup, and congestion inside the nasal passages. Individuals with swollen or enlarged turbinates often undergo treatment in the form of allergy meds, antibiotics, decongestants, antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, nasal rinses and lastly surgery for relief.
Though medications can help alleviate some symptoms, they don’t work for everyone. Many people who end up experiencing nasal stuffiness and congestion that doesn’t respond favorably to medications often end up having turbinate reduction surgery.
Expert nose and sinus surgeon, Dr. Alen Cohen, performs microdebrider-assisted submucous resection of the turbinates at the Southern California Sinus Institute. The procedure is safe, effective, quick and a minimally invasive procedure for patients seeking relief from nasal congestion, stuffiness, sinus infections, headaches, and facial pain.
Recommendations to Hasten Healing and Recovery Times
Most post-operative patients are back to normal within 1-2 days of the procedure under local anesthesia in the office and notice full benefits within 2-3 weeks of the procedure in Dr. Cohen’s golden hands. However, everyone heals differently, and it is not uncommon for some individuals to recover in more or less time. As with any medical procedure, recovery is not something to rush through or an event that ends at a specific date or time. Patients should avoid activities that can increase the risk of post-operative complications and the length of time it takes to recover.
In the meantime, patients can do the following to help speed up their healing and improve their comfort and to recover faster:
- Scabs may develop in the nostrils and treatment area after the procedure. Avoid blowing the nose and sneezing too hard to keep the scabs intact to prevent an increase in blood-tinged discharge. Scabs are natural and a temporary protective crust that is part of the healing process. Scabs are usually gone after 1-2 weeks after the procedure. They are associated with mild congestion and soreness till the tissues fully heal.
- Increase fluids to keep the mucous passages from drying out and becoming further irritated. Hydration also plays a vital role in the body’s healing process and overall personal health and well-being.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air and keep the nasal passages from drying out and becoming inflamed. Use an air purifier to remove excess airborne irritants, dust, dander, germs, and other pathogens from the air to protect the airways.
- Take prescribed meds as directed and consult with their doctor before taking alternatives or using remedies to ease their pain or discomfort. Nasal rinses are a must during the 2-3 weeks that it takes the turbinates to heal and to prevent infection or scar tissue formation. Dr. Cohen will discuss with you which rinse to use and how often to use it for best results long-term.
Most patients can resume their normal activities within a few days after surgery. Post-operative restrictions are determined by the surgeon on a case-by-case basis and dependent on each patient’s medical and health needs and treatment plan.
Managing Expectations About Turbinate Reduction Outcome
It is important for patients not to expect their noses and breathing to clear up immediately after treatment. On the contrary, breathing and nasal drainage may initially become more challenging due to the swelling and trauma associated with surgery for 2-3 days and then begin to improve. Some stuffiness, facial and head pressure, and headaches may also occur. As healing progresses, these side effects will disappear.
Breathe Easier and Comfortably With Turbinate Reduction
Micredebrider-assisted submucous turbinate reduction by Dr. Alen Cohen is a very safe, minimally invasive and permanent technique at restoring nose and sinus function and breathing comfort. Microdebrider-assisted surgery offers long-term and often permanent relief from turbinate swelling, nasal congestion, stuffiness, and blockages due to allergies, chronic sinusitis infections, as well as infections. Contact Dr. Alen Cohen at the Southern California Sinus Institute at (818) 888-7878 for more information about sinus and nasal congestion treatment options.