Turbinates are bony structures inside the nose, covered by soft tissue (mucosa). They regulate airflow and warm and humidify the air you inhale. They do this by swelling up with increased blood flow.
What are enlarged (swollen) turbinates?
The nose has three pairs of turbinates: superior, middle and inferior. They are located along the sides of both nasal cavities. The inferior nasal turbinates are the largest and located lowest in the nose. They are also the most likely to become enlarged. This condition is called inferior turbinate hypertrophy.
Symptoms of enlarged nasal turbinates
The primary symptom of an enlarged turbinate is nasal obstruction, with airflow blocked in one or both of the nostrils. A deviated septum can also block airflow. The two conditions frequently occur together.
Nonsurgical treatments for swollen turbinates
Nonsurgical treatments may improve your breathing. They include:
- Nasal or oral antihistamines
- Nasal or oral steroid spray
- Nasal saline spray or high-volume irrigation
- Oral decongestants
Surgery for enlarged turbinates
Enlarged nasal turbinates that do not improve with nonsurgical treatment may need surgery. We offer procedures to:
- Remove a thickened or abnormal turbinate bone
- Reduce the inside of the mucosa of the affected turbinate