Can Enlarged Turbinates Cause Nasal Obstruction?


A common array of complaints leading patients to seek nasal surgery includes issues such as congestion, snoring, sleep apnea, and chronic sinus infections. Often, these symptoms can be attributed to enlarged turbinates, which many people aren’t even aware they have until they begin to experience nasal, sinus, and/or breathing problems. The esteemed members of The Rhinoplasty Society — with surgeons nationwide — understand the complex nature of turbinate problems and can help patients regain their nasal function and comfort again with a range of nose surgeries, including turbinoplasty. This procedure aims to enhance breathing, improve sleep quality, and provide relief from recurring sinus infections and other conditions. Read on to learn more about how a turbinectomy works and the anticipated results post-surgery.

What are turbinates in your nose?

Turbinates are small nasal structures that play a crucial role in purifying air passing through the nostrils before reaching the lungs. While there are three sets of turbinates, the inferior turbinates are often associated with undesirable symptoms such as:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Nasal pressure with headaches

Temporary swelling from allergen exposure or other agents can affect some people, while others contend with chronically enlarged turbinates that disrupt normal airflow around the clock. For these cases, a turbinate resection, also known as turbinoplasty or turbinectomy, may offer rapid and enduring relief.

How is a turbinoplasty performed?

Most turbinectomies involve the partial removal or resection of the inferior turbinates, the set closest to the nostrils. In many cases, the surgeon will opt for a closed approach, utilizing endoscopic instruments with all incisions and sutures contained within the nose. With precision, the surgeon can resect the appropriate amount of excess or enlarged bone and tissue structures of the turbinates, facilitating improved airflow. Post-procedure, patients may experience nasal congestion, swelling, and discharge for about 2 – 3 weeks. As these symptoms subside, a significant improvement in symptoms caused by enlarged turbinates becomes noticeable.

Does a turbinoplasty change the appearance of your nose?

Although not classified as a cosmetic procedure, a turbinectomy can bring about subtle changes in the nose's appearance, especially when turbinates are significantly enlarged. Patients may observe a slight slimming of the nose, though this change is not usually noticeable to others. For those seeking both relief from enlarged turbinates and cosmetic enhancements to the nose, their surgeon might recommend a combination of cosmetic rhinoplasty and turbinate resection.

How do I get started with a turbinectomy?

Scheduling a consultation with an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon is the first step in the turbinoplasty process. During the initial consultation, your surgeon will engage in detailed discussions about your concerns, symptoms, and surgical options. The goal is to recommend the most suitable nasal surgery tailored to individual needs.

Get rapid and lasting relief from chronic congestion with turbinate resection by an experienced nasal surgeon

Chronic sinus infections, nasal congestion, and obstructed breathing can be a source of pain and disruption. For many patients, turbinoplasty surgery proves to be an effective solution. To further explore how turbinectomy can address your nasal concerns, contact one of the qualified and experienced members of The Rhinoplasty Society.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.