Inferior turbinates are long, sausage shaped structures which protrude from the side-wall of the internal nasal cavity on each side. These structures are composed of a ridge of bone lined with thick, well vascularized soft tissue and covered by a moist mucous membrane.
Treating Swollen Turbinates
The turbinates are crucial in allowing us to breathe properly. Allergies, viral infections, exposure to environmental irritants, and a deviated septum can cause them to swell. Inferior turbinates that swell to the point where they cause a nasal obstruction are known as hyperplastic turbinates.
Symptoms may be mild to severe. Minor cases may respond successfully to over-the-counter decongestants, but these bring temporary relief and should not be continued for more than three or four days, or they can cause symptoms to worsen. Topical nasal steroids and sprays may also be effective, and antibiotics are occasionally useful in treating congestion caused by sinusitis. But in many cases, medical treatment is ineffective; hyperplastic turbinates often require surgery.
Surgical Procedures for Hyperplastic Turbinates
- Turbinate Resection. Either total or partial, this procedure involves removing all or part of the inferior turbinate while widening the nasal airway. Submucous resection aims to preserve the mucosa of the turbinate in order to reduce side effects.