Do Enlarged Lower Turbinates Always Show Up on a CT Scan?

I have been told that I need my lower turbinates cauterized, infractured, and a portion of them removed because they are enlarged and is blocking my airway. However, this is not indicated by the CT report. Is it possible that it did not show up on the CT scan but is still present?

Doctor Answers 2

No, not always

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No not always, CT scans are static cuts and if the angle of the cut is not perfect it may not show the area of the obstruction well.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon

Turbinates on CT scan--what does this show?

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Depending on the views obtained, the turbinates do indeed show up on CT scan. However, recommendations to cauterize, infracture, or perform partial inferior turbinectomies or turbinoplasties are based on airway assessment, not JUST CT scan.

Reading a CT scan is something radiologists do as their specialty, but their focus (and report) may be based on identifying fracture, tumor, or other abnormality, and may not specifically address airway, which involves subjective as well as objective tests, observation, and recommendations.

It sounds as if you are having doubt as to the recommendations of your rhinoplasty consultant--if in doubt, seek consultation with one or more additional experts in rhinoplasty: ABPS-certified plastic surgeons with extensive experience in rhinoplasty, or board-certified ENT experts in rhinoplasty surgery.

BTW, it is usually not necessary to cauterize, infracture, AND perform partial turbinectomies, but choose which of these is necessary or advisable--not usually ALL of them! Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

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