faceTurbinate reduction is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of one or more of the small curved bones in the nose, known as turbinates, in order to open clogged nasal passages and improve breathing. There are three pairs of turbinates in the nose, classified as inferior, middle and superior. Their function is to warm, filter and humidify air as it circulates through the nose and into the lungs. Since they serve as filters, the turbinates help to protect the body from irritants and stave off infection.

Turbinate reduction is performed when a patient’s turbinate is abnormally large, creating a nasal obstruction. The turbinates may swell in response to ear, nose and throat allergies or upper respiratory infections, resulting in a number of troubling symptoms which may include chronic nasal congestion, recurrent sinusitis, frequent nosebleeds and difficulty sleeping. If traditional treatments, such as nasal decongestants, antihistamines, allergy shots and antibiotics do not resolve these problems, surgical intervention is usually recommended.

Turbinate reduction may be performed using a few different surgical methods, depending on the patient’s overall medical condition and the nature of the problem. The procedure is frequently performed in conjunction with corrective surgery for a deviated septum, known as a septectomy. Turbinate reduction is performed as an outpatient procedure and the patient should expect to resume a limited normal routine in approximately a week. While turbinate reduction operations are considered quite safe, there is always some risk involved in any surgical procedure.