Turbinates are bony structures in the nasal cavity that are covered in mucous membranes. They play an important role in filtering, warming, and humidifying the air that we breathe. However, when the turbinates become enlarged, they can cause a condition known as turbinate hypertrophy – which can lead to a range of symptoms, including nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and even sleep and snoring problems.
Read on to learn about turbinate hypertrophy and how they can be treated.
What is turbinate hypertrophy?
Turbinate hypertrophy refers to the abnormal enlargement of the nasal turbinates. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps fungus, and other nasal obstructions. When the turbinates become swollen, they can block the nasal passages, making it difficult for air to flow through the nose.
Symptoms of turbinate hypertrophy
The symptoms of turbinate hypertrophy can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Post-nasal drip
- Sleep apnoea
- Reduced sense of smell
- Frequent sinus infections
- Dry mouth
If left untreated, turbinate hypertrophy can lead to a range of complications, including sleep apnoea, chronic sinusitis infections, and even facial deformities in severe cases.
Treatment options for turbinate hypertrophy
Turbinate hypertrophy treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, as well as the underlying cause. Here are some of the most common treatment options for turbinate hypertrophy:
1. Nasal sprays
One of the most common treatments for turbinate hypertrophy is the use of nasal sprays. These sprays can help to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the turbinates, making it easier to breathe through the nose. Some common types of nasal sprays include corticosteroids, antihistamines, and decongestants.
2. Turbinate reduction surgery
In severe cases of turbinate hypertrophy, surgery may be necessary to reduce the size of the turbinates. This procedure is typically performed under local or general anaesthesia and involves removing a portion of the turbinate tissue. This procedure is known as a turbinectomy or turbinate reduction surgery. Recovery time from this type of surgery can vary, but most patients are able to return to normal activities within a few days.
3. Radiofrequency turbinate reduction
Radiofrequency turbinate reduction is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the size of the turbinates. This procedure can be performed in the doctor’s office under local anaesthesia and involves inserting a small electrode into the turbinate tissue. The electrode then emits radiofrequency energy that causes the tissue to shrink. Recovery time from this type of procedure is usually less than a week.
4. Allergy management
If the underlying cause of turbinate hypertrophy is allergies, managing those allergies may be the best way to reduce symptoms. This can be done through the use of allergy medications, avoiding allergens, or undergoing immunotherapy (allergy shots).
5. Other treatments
Other treatments for turbinate hypertrophy may include the use of nasal dilators, nasal irrigation, and steam inhalation. These treatments can help to reduce inflammation and improve nasal breathing.
Turbinate hypertrophy is a common condition that can cause a range of symptoms, including nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and snoring. While the condition can be uncomfortable, there are a variety of treatment options available to help manage symptoms. If you are experiencing the symptoms discussed in this article, talk to your doctor or contact hypertrophy turbinate services to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.