Can Fixing the Collapsed Internal Nasal Valve in a Person with Previous Turbinate Reduction Cause Empty Nose?

I was wondering if it is possible that my collapsed internal nasal valve is preventing me from experiencing signs of Empty Nose Syndrome after submucousal inferior turbinate reduction and cuterization? I am thinking about revision rhinoplasty to fix the collapse but am worried about making matters worse and ending up with an empty nose.

Doctor Answers 7

Nasal valve collapse repair and empty nose syndrome

An empty nose is caused from over resection of either the middle or inferior turbinates.  This will have only minimal bearing on the nasal valve.  If the nasal valve is collapsed, the most common way to correct it is with a spreader graft.  This graft is often fashioned with cartilage that is harvested from the patient’s own nasal septum or ear.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Internal nasal valve repair is a complex procedure

If you have a collapse of the internal nasal valve this can create significant nasal problems.  Turbinate reduction can be performed in many different ways.  The longevity of these procedures can be varied.  Revision rhinoplasty may be a very good option to correct these problems.

Robert Mounsey, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Empty Nose Syndrome after nasal surgery

Empty Nose Syndrome refers to a nasal cavity that has lost the ability to adequate warm and humidify inspired air. Consequently, mucous becomes dried and the airways feel obstructed. The risk of empty nose syndrome is increased in surgeries that increase the amount and speed of air through the nose. While it is always possible that improving a narrow internal nasal valve will increase airflow and drying after having a prior septoplasty and inferior turbinate reduction, it is less likely if the inferior turbinate reduction was done conservatively and did not just involve amputation of the turbinate.

A qualified rhinoplasty surgeon should definitely be able to evaluate your nose and help give a good assessment of your treatment options.

Gregory J. Vipond, MD, FRCSC
Inland Empire Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Will fixing a collapsed internal nasal valve cause empty nose syndrome

Your question boils down to whether improving your nasal airway with opening up your narrowed internal nasal valve will set you over the edge and cause excess nasal airflow.

You should have an experienced nasal surgeon examine your nose to see how much inferior turbinate tissue you have remaining after your prior reduction. More conservative turbinate treatment that maintained as much normal turbinate skin lining as possible makes empty nose syndrome less likely

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Collapsed middle vault

A collapsed middle vault can be treated with a spreader graft and should improve the collapse and may improve breathing. It should not cause an empty nose syndrome.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Improving Nasal Air Flow after Turbinate Reduction

As you know nasal breathing problems caused by collapsed internal nasal valves can be corrected by the placement of spreader grafts. A pre-op examination will determine if there is a risk of the empty nose syndrome with dry nasal lining. This is an excellent question but this problem only occurs after significant turbinate reduction which will be obvious on nasal examination.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Revision rhinoplasty and empty nasal syndrome.

What Dr. Vipond had explained is very accurate.  In your case you need to get a few consults with facial plastic surgeons who are ENT-trained to see if this could really be an issue for you.  Unless you are having problems with a dry nose and crusting now you may not after improving your valve collapse.  Is it possible you'd need a humidifier in your bedroom in the winter?  Yes, but true empty nasal syndrome is rare in cases where a submucosal resection of the turbinates was performed.  There was a time when ENT surgeons literally cut the turbinates out, partially.  It wasn't good.

Make sure you get a few consults.

Best of luck

Chase Lay, MD

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.