Everything You Need to Know About Turbinate Ablation

 Everything You Need to Know About Turbinate Ablation

If you’ve been thinking about getting turbinate ablation surgery, there are a few things you may want to know. There’s no reason to allow your deviated nasal septum to hold you back and disable you from enjoying activities. In this blog post, I have everything you need to know about turbinate ablation surgery, whether you’re deciding if this procedure is right for you or just getting ready to schedule an appointment.

What are turbinates?

When it comes to your sinuses, turbinates are an essential structure. These scroll-shaped bones and their surrounding soft tissue are located in both nasal passages and act as a filter by trapping pollution, dust, germs, and other particles while their mucus membrane wicks away moisture. Turbinates also help bring in warm air during the winter and cooler air in the summer.

Turbinates work across three different levels of activity by changing blood flow to affect the amount of oxygen going into the sinus. The high level of blood flow is called vasoconstriction; this happens when you’re sick or have allergies and causes congestion. Vasodilation is when there’s less blood flow; this helps keep your sinuses healthy. And finally, there’s the baseline level of activity when you’re healthy and not experiencing any issues with congestion or allergies.

How do nasal turbinates function?

Nasal turbinates are curved, finger-like projections that help filter harmful particles from the air you breathe. They also help keep your nose humidified and warm. Each set of turbinates has a covering composed of mucous glands (or sinus tissue), which produces mucus, which keeps your nasal passages moist.

What is the purpose of turbinate ablation?

Turbinate ablation is a procedure, usually performed in conjunction with septoplasty, that reduces the size of your turbinates, which are bony plates inside your nose. Your turbinates often become swollen and inflamed due to allergies or chronic sinus problems. When this happens, airflow through the nose becomes limited, and breathing may be difficult.

The purpose of turbinate ablation is to reduce the size of your turbinates so you can breathe more accessible and comfortable.

What are the benefits of turbinate ablation?

Turbinate ablation has several advantages over other forms of turbinate reduction surgery. For example, the procedure is quick and straightforward; it can be performed in an outpatient setting with no general anesthesia required. There is minimal bleeding, no incisions are made, and there is no need for post-operative packing—Additionally, patients who undergo turbinate ablation experience a rapid recovery period with little to no pain. Because the procedure does not involve reducing or removing any part of the turbinates, there are also fewer risks associated with complications related to nasal congestion than there would be in more invasive procedures that do perform a reduction or removal of tissue from the turbinates.

What are the expected results of turbinate ablation?

Generally, results from turbinate ablation can be seen within a few days to two weeks following the procedure. The results of this surgery can last for months to years at a time, or possibly even permanently. However, if you find that your symptoms continue in the months since you received treatment, your ENT doctor may recommend additional action.

You can expect swelling and redness at the incision site for 2-3 days after turbinate ablation. This is normal as it is part of your body’s natural healing process. Your doctor will likely prescribe over-the-counter painkillers to help with any discomfort you may have during this time. In addition, they may provide a nasal decongestant spray to help with congestion and swelling following the procedure.

What is the process of turbinate ablation like?

You can expect the process of turbinate ablation to take about 30 minutes. The procedure is performed in a doctor’s office. Because it can be performed under local anesthesia, the system is outpatient: you won’t have to stay overnight in the hospital.

Is there a recovery period after turbinate ablation?

It’s recommended that you have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. Your provider may also suggest rest for several days, with no strenuous activity. Pain medication will be prescribed to manage discomfort, which is typically mild. You can reduce swelling by using an over-the-counter nasal spray (Afrin) three or four times daily for the first few days following surgery. For most patients, turbinate ablation is considered a safe and effective way to manage chronic/recurring congestion and other symptoms associated with large turbinates without undergoing more invasive surgical procedures.

You should start feeling relief from your symptoms within three weeks after having turbinate ablation, but complete healing can take two months following surgery. This means it will likely be two months before returning to work or school after the procedure. However, many people can go back sooner if their job does not involve heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity.

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