What is a Turbinate Reduction?

Jan 26, 2018
Turbinates are curved bones located inside the nasal passage which aid with filtering and humidifying the air we breathe. They can become swollen when impacted by factors such as allergens or impurities in the air.

Turbinates are curved bones located inside the nasal passage which aid with filtering and humidifying the air we breathe. They can become swollen when impacted by factors such as allergens or impurities in the air. In addition, pregnancy or other hormonal changes can cause swelling of the turbinates. This condition is commonly referred to as turbinate hypertrophy. When turbinate hypertrophy is present for an extended period of time, the inflammation can lead to sleep apnea, headaches, or trouble breathing. With a simple procedure, the size of the turbinates can be reduced and normal function can be restored.


While some patients are able to solve their turbinate problems through various medical treatments, others have tried many treatments and see no improvement in their symptoms. For these patients, turbinate reduction surgery is a viable option. As the procedure is minimally invasive and has a quick recovery time, it is a practical and effective solution.

Symptoms such as headaches, sinus problems, and snoring can be resolved with this procedure. Patients with deviated septums are also candidates for this procedure, as they are more likely to suffer from turbinate problems.


Turbinate reduction surgery is performed without making any incisions in the skin, as the doctor is able to enter the patient’s nose structure to access the turbinates. To reduce the size of the turbinates, the doctor makes a small incision in the mucosa which lines the turbinate to remove excess tissue. After this tissue is removed, the area is cauterized to aid in a speedy recovery.

Because the procedure can be performed quickly, it requires only local anesthesia, although there is the option for general anesthesia if that is preferred. No hospital stay is required; you will be able to return home to rest as soon as the anesthesia has worn off.

Once the surgery has been performed and you have recovered, you will experience a less obstructed flow of air through the nasal passage and improved breathing, with a reduction of symptoms. There is no need to suffer from chronic pain or discomfort as a result of enlarged turbinates. At our offices, we have developed this procedure treats turbinate hypertrophy and restore normal turbinate size while maintaining the critical function of the turbinates.


Recovery time for a turbinate reduction surgery is about 2 weeks. During this time, you will be prescribed antibiotics and a painkiller, although in many cases just Tylenol is sufficient for the pain as it is fairly mild.

Within the first two weeks you may also experience some light bleeding through the nasal passages. This is a normal side effect of this procedure and should improve within 10 to 14 days. Some initial swelling and congestion is normal in the initial stages of healing. Once the temporary swelling is resolved, you should see vast improvement in turbinate function.

During your recovery, you may need to sleep with your head elevated to reduce pressure in your nasal passage, and you are also discouraged from intense exercise or heavy lifting. Smoking is strongly discouraged for the first two weeks following your procedure.

You will also have a post-operative visit, in which we will check your healing progress and provide a saline solution to aid in healing. After a short period of rest and recovery, patients experience a noticeable improvement in their breathing.


With one simple procedure, your quality of life can be vastly improved. Chronic nasal problems caused by enlarged turbinates can impact your sleep and your breathing, both of which are important to quality of life and energy. Turbinate reduction surgery can restore your health and vitality by improving the basic functions of your respiratory system. When you are breathing properly, your health is improved and so is your daily life.

If have been advised that turbinate reduction surgery may needed to resolve your breathing issues and would like to schedule a consultation, you can contact Los Angeles Sinus Institute. Our offices in Los Angeles are well-prepared to aid you in treating the many unpleasant problems associated with turbinate hypertrophy to improve your breathing for the long term.