The aim of surgery, in the treatment of chronic recurrent sinusitis, is to permanently open the sinuses to leave a space which is well ventilated. Chronic sinusitis is influenced by several factors including infection, allergies, structural abnormalities, dairy product intolerance and the function of tiny cilia important for mucus transport.
The inferior turbinates are the lowest of 3 turbinates in the nasal cavity and large vascular projections along the sidewall of the nose and can play a significant part in blocking the nasal airway especially if chronic rhinosinusitis (inflammation of the lining of the nose) is present.
Mostly, I undertake reduction of inferior turbinates in conjunction with endoscopic sinus surgery.
Those who have nasal obstruction as part of their hayfever symptoms can do extremely well with reduction of the inferior turbinates.
There are a number of ways of reducing the turbinates; the least aggressive being various forms of cautery of the turbinates.
These forms of surgery are not permanent but may give relief from symptoms for 1-2 years. Cautery is especially useful in children to provide the relief and to judge the effect of this minimally invasive surgery. Should cautery be successful, it can be repeated or the permanent endoscopic reduction of the inferior turbinates can then be considered if symptoms return.
Endoscopic reduction of the inferior turbinates is undertaken under general anaesthetic using operating telescopes. Some of the lining of the turbinate is removed along with the bony skeleton.
As the inferior turbinates are a vascular organ, there is a significant risk of post-operative bleeding if individuals engage in exercise or vigorous activity in the 2 weeks following surgery.
Mostly, there is an immediate appreciation of an improvement in the nasal airway. Soon after surgery, clots and crusts can collect in the nose causing further nasal obstruction which ultimately resolves.
Once again, it is not painful surgery but the nose may become obstructed by crusts and mucous which need to be irrigated away with saline rinsing in a Sinus Rinse bottle.
If you have any questions about sinus surgery procedures please contact us.