Endoscopic Turbinate Reduction (Turbinoplasty / Turbinectomy)

The inferior (or lower) turbinates are shelf-like structures that are located along the side walls of the inside of the nose. There is one inferior turbinate in each nasal cavity (left and right). They are made up of a thin plate of bone, covered on each side by a lining called mucosa.

The inferior turbinates may cause nasal obstruction if they become enlarged - either due to overgrowth of the bone or swelling of the mucosa.

The initial treatment of enlarged inferior turbinates is usually a steroid nasal spray, however if the nasal spary is not effective, or of the turbinates are very large, then surgery to reduce the bulk of the turbinates is recommended. There are two types of turbinate surgery: turbinoplasty and turbinectomy.

Turbinoplasty involves removal of the bone of the turbinate and half of the mucosal lining of the turbinate, leaving the other half of the mucosa to cover the area from where the bone was removed. This increases the rate of healing and reduces the amount of crusting after surgery. It is not always technically possible to perform a turbinoplasty, and so in some situations turbinectomy is performed.

Turbinectomy involves the removal of the entire turbinate, including the bone and both sides of the mucosal lining. This is associated with more crusting and a slightly slower healing time after the surgery.