Turbinate Reduction Surgery: You should get it or not?

turbinate reduction

We all like proper airflow to breathe; however, some people have a disease in nose that messes their airflow. These turbinates are found in the nose and sometimes get so bigger that it interrupts the airflow, causing the person not to get enough air. Luckily, a surgery called Turbinate Reduction removes these turbinates and improves the person’s airflow. The surgeon decreases the size of your turbinates and removes the extra tissues. If nonsurgical treatments don’t work, then consider Turbinate reduction. You might think, What to do if you got turbinates in your nose? In this article, we will tell you all about turbinate reduction. So, keep reading.

Turbinate Reduction:

What is Turbinate?

We have built-in air filters in our noses, which filter and add moisture to our breathing air. The structures that do this work are called turbinates. Good healthy turbinates will do a perfect job in your nose. However, they become enlarged and swollen by some infection, which causes nasal blockage and makes breathing hard.

Why does it happen?

There are many causes of turbinates becoming large and infectious. However, the most common ones are Allergies, Weather Changes, Infections, Stress, and Side effect of some medications. It causes difficulty in breathing; however, it gets treated naturally or with medicines. However, some causes of turbinate growth can only go away by turbinate reduction. These causes are Chronic infections, extreme allergies, and anatomic problems with the nose.

What is Turbinate Reduction?

It is a surgical process done by ENT specialists to enhance airflow in individuals with large and infectious turbinates; they remove the extra tissue and improve the airflow. People also calls it inferior turbinate reduction and nasal turbinate reduction. If the surgery is performed on both sides of the nose, it is called bilateral turbinate reduction.

turbinate reduction

Credit: Stanfordhealthcare

Turbinate Reduction Surgery: Why is it done?

This surgery is for people with large and infectious turbinates. The doctor removes the excess tissue near turbinates, so breathing becomes easy. The turbinates clean the air, but sometimes because of allergies or infection, the turbinates grow big and swollen. Most time, you will not need the surgery and will treat it naturally.


In the surgery, the surgeon carefully removes the extra turbinate tissue. There are many techniques to perform this surgery: Cauterization, Radio Frequency turbinate reduction, Coblation, Microdebrider submucosal resection and partial resection.


In this technique, the surgeon places a heated probe in your nose, which closes some blood vessels of your turbinates. Finally, it will reduce the blood flow and shrink your turbinate to normal.

Radiofrequency turbinate reduction:

In this method, the surgeon puts a long, thin probe in your nose that has heat energy and forms scar tissue. It will make your turbinate tissues shrink.


This method is the same as radiofrequency reduction. However, in this technique, we use low heat to preserve surrounding tissues unharmed. The word Coblation means Controlled Ablation.

Microdebrider submucosal resection:

In this method, your surgeon will create a small opening in your infected turbinate and removes tissues by opening. However, it leaves the outer surface as it was. Now your turbinate will heal and shrink.

Partial Resection: 

This method is different from other methods. In this process, your surgeon will remove a small portion of your turbinate. However, this method will remove both hard and soft tissue. These are all the methods to perform the surgery. Now next, we will know is this surgery is painful or not.

Is it Painful?

After getting the turbinate reduction, you may feel discomfort in your nose for some days; however, the pain is usually minimal. You might feel more pain if the surgery was performed with additional processes. To ease the pain, take all medicines as your healthcare provider prescribes.

After the Turbinate Reduction:

After completing surgery, your surgeon will give all the instructions to follow. These instructions will help you in your healing time. You will find crusting on your nose; this is normal and happens in the healing process. It will last for two to three weeks. For relief, you can use a cool humidifier, a nasal spray, or petroleum jelly on your nose.

turbinate reduction

Credit: Mobleymd

Success Rate:

It is a typical surgery process, and its success rate is around 82%. However, there is a possibility that the tissues can grow back, but most people are satisfied with the surgery results.


The cost of getting a turbinate reduction surgery depends on how your turbinate condition is. However, You can get this surgery for about 2000 dollars if your situation is less harmful. If you have insurance, the cost will be less; it depends on your insurance plan. If the condition worsens and needs to remove a bone or tissue by septoplasty, it will cost upto 10 thousand dollars. The cost depends on the time taken in the procedure and the quantity of removed tissue.

After knowing the procedure and the cost, let’s learn some pros and cons of this surgery, so you can decide whether to get the surgery or not.

Pros and Cons:

First, let’s know the pros of this surgery:

  • It is an outpatient process and doesn’t take much time to complete.
  • It will clear your nasal airway and gives better airflow.
  • This surgery will also reduce your snoring.
  • It also treats painful nasal allergies.

Now let’s know the cons of this surgery:

  • It can give you Empty nose syndrome, a rare disease in which you will not feel the air moving via your nasal passages.
  • Sometimes, you can get nasal dryness because of this surgery.
  • And the last con is Nosebleeds. You can have nosebleeds after the surgery.

Whenever you find turbinate enlargement in your nose, your first action is to go to a doctor. Talk with the doctor, and they will tell you whether you should get a turbinate reduction.

Small QnA:

How painful is turbinate reduction?

During the surgery, you will not feel pain because of anaesthesia. However, you will feel pain in your nose after the surgery, but the pain will be minimal.

How long does it take to recover from turbinate reduction?

Your nose will fully recover in 1 to 2 months. You can do your everyday work after one week. However, recovery takes around 15 to 20 days in some people.

Do turbinates grow back after reduction?

Yes, they can grow back even after getting a reduction. However, in that case, you need to get surgery once again.

Is turbinate reduction a major surgery?

No, it is not a major surgery. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete this surgery. 

Does the nose look different after turbinate reduction?

The nose will look a little different because of the removal of extra tissue. However, it will not change the size of your nose.


Sometimes we get a swollen nose, which happens because of swollen turbinates. Luckily, It is easy to cure it by turbinate reduction. After reading our article now, you know all about this surgery. If your turbinates get swollen or large, go to a doctor and tell him about the issue, and he will advise you on whether you should get this procedure. After getting the procedure, you should take care of your nose and follow your doctor’s instructions. Lastly, always get health insurance, so next time a surgery like this comes, you get the treatment at a minimal cost.

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