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Inferior Turbinate Cautery or Resection

 

The inferior turbinates are shelves on the side of the nose which swell in response to chronic infection or allergy. The swelling causes an obstruction to airflow through the nose resulting in a blocked nose and may contribute to snoring and sleep apnoea.

 

Indication for surgery

 

The inferior turbinates are cauterized (reduced in size by touching them with a hot needle) or partially removed (resection/ submucous resection) if they are enlarged and causing nasal obstruction despite antibiotic and allergy treatment. The surgery is often combined with adenoidectomy.

 

What does it involve?

 

The procedure is usually undertaken as part of an adenoidectomy/adenotonsillectomy or sinus surgery. Therefore it is done under general anaesthesia.

 

Complications

  1. Bleeding – usually is minor and settles by itself

  2. Blocked nose – until the swelling settles

  3. A “slug” – like piece of tissue is blown out of the nose about one week after surgery – this is expected.

  4. Regrowth of the turbinates – to some extent occurs in all cases but usually not to their original size.