Enlarged turbinates make it hard for air to pass through the nose. There are many causes such as allergies or a deviated septum. Turbinate cautery shrinks the size of the turbinates to help open the airway. It also:
Decreases postnasal drip and drainage
Allows the sinuses to drain
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review possible problems such as:
Problems with nasal obstruction, drainage, or sinuses
Changes in your breathing
More surgery if turbinate tissue grows back
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
You may have:
A physical exam
Imaging tests to see nasal structures
Before your procedure:
Follow instructions on what to eat and drink the night before.
Talk to your doctor about all medicines you take. You may need to stop taking some up to 1 week in advance.
You will need to stop smoking before the procedure. Smoking leads to an increase in scar tissue and poor healing that affects the success of the surgery.
In most cases, turbinate cautery is done with local anesthesia. Your nose and the area around it will be numb.
Description of the Procedure
A heated probe is place in the nose. The heat clots and closes off certain turbinate blood vessels. The changes in blood flow will help shrink the tissue.
The probe is removed when the procedure is done.
How Long Will It Take?
Less than 30 minutes.
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. You may be advised to take mild pain relievers after.
At the Care Center
The healthcare staff will watch for any problems such as bleeding. You can leave as soon as you feel ready.
If more extensive work was done, you may need to stay longer.
Swelling is normal. It should last a few days. Breathing should be easier after a few weeks as the tissue heals.
You will need to avoid certain activities for a short time. Trapped blood and mucus are removed at follow up appointments.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Fever or chills
Increase in bleeding or pus
Problems lasting longer than you or your doctor expect
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
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