Turbinate Hypertrophy

Turbinate Hypertrophy Treatments in Charlotte NC & Rock Hill SC

Turbinate dysfunction is very common and happens to everyone at some point in their lives. Symptoms of turbinate dysfunction range from total nasal obstruction to mild congestion and/or rhinorrhea. Common causes of turbinate dysfunction include colds, allergic rhinitis and vasomotor rhinitis. Certain medications and hormones may also trigger turbinate dysfunction.  Allergic rhinitis is the most common cause of turbinate hypertrophy.  Environmental allergens like pollen come in contact with the nasal membranes as we breathe.  This can induce an inflammatory reaction and result in congestion of the turbinates.  Vasomotor rhinitis on the other hand, results from dilation of the vessels in the lining of the turbinates.  Causes of vasomotor rhinitis include, but are not limited to, the use of cardiovascular and antihypertensive medications, female hormones, changes in temperature, and rhinitis of disuse.


 Nasal congestion is the most common symptom associated with turbinate dysfunction.  The symptoms may be mild but sometime the congestion is so severe to the point where patients overuse topical decongestants such as oxymetazoline or phenylephrine resulting in further dysfunction of the turbinates.  Many patients use over-the-counter (OTC) oral decongestants with limited success.  However, the key to successful treatment is to identify the underlying cause of the turbinate hypertrophy and correct the cause. Infectious and inflammatory causes are the most common etiologies.


At Carolina Sinus center, our physician reviews your symptoms and performs a physical examination. The exam will most likely include performing a nasal endoscopy to determine the extent of the obstruction and rule out an infectious etiology.  A CT scan and allergy test may be obtained, to complete a thorough work up of patients suffering from nasal obstruction.


Our physician uses medical therapy as a first-line approach to the treatment of turbinate hypertrophy.  Several categories of medications are available and suggested depending on the cause of your congestion.   Nasal decongestants, in both topical and oral forms can be used.  Prolonged use of topical decongestants can cause a rebound effect and damage the lining of the nose resulting in rhinitis medicamentosum. Oral decongestants are also very effective but may elevate your blood pressure if you have hypertension.  Antihistamines and intranasal steroid sprays are useful for turbinate hypertrophy due to allergies. Intranasal steroids however, require continued daily use to be effective. Our doctor may consider surgical correction in patients who fail medical management.

Turbinate Resection

There are three turbinates (inferior, middle, and superior) on each side of the nose.  The inferior turbinate usually results in the most obstruction of the nasal passages due to its rich content of blood vessels.  Turbinate surgery lessens nasal obstruction by reducing the turbinate size and thereby decreasing airway resistance while preserving the natural function of the turbinates. This should improve nasal breathing and may reduce nasal drainage and post-nasal drip.

Surgical Treatment

Our physician typically performs this surgery in conjunction with a septoplasty. If performed without septoplasty, inferior turbinate resection may be performed under local or general anesthesia. With the aid of an endoscope, our doctor makes an incision in the mucosal lining of the turbinate and some of the underlying tissue and bone removed. Alternatively, she may elect to use specialized instrument to thin the tissue around the turbinate or cautery.  Saline rinses may be recommended after to prevent crusting, relieve dryness and aid in healing.  Like septoplasty, turbinate resection does not involve any external cuts through the skin, it is performed entirely through the nostrils. Patients usually go home the same day. 


Menu Title