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Turbinates are small structures inside the nose that cleanse and humidify air that passes through the nostrils into the lungs. They are made by a bony structure surrounded by vascular tissue and a mucous membrane outside, and can become swollen and inflamed by allergies, irritation or infection, causing nasal obstruction and producing an excessive amount of mucous which leads to congestion.
Radiofrequency turbinate reduction is a procedure in which a needle-like instrument is inserted into the turbinate and energy is transmitted to the tissue to cause a controlled damage, so by the time healing process occurs, the turbinates will be reduced, allowing improved airflow through the nose. It is an office procedure, performed under local anesthesia, and it takes about 10 minutes. Usually there's no pain on the recovery process, no change on the physical aspect and no long-term side effects, such as loss on olfactory perception. The patient should be aware that he/she will have crusting on the nose for approximately 3 weeks. We recommend frequent use of nasal saline irrigations and use of antibiotic ointment during this period of time. There is a slight chance that the turbinates can get bigger again overtime, making another Radiofrequency procedure necessary.
Airflow after turbinate reduction
We recommend 1 day out of work and 2 days without strenuous exercising after the turbinate reduction. Although rare, risks include bleeding and infection, and should be taken into consideration.