How safe is bilateral turbinectomy in 2016?

My ENT has recommended that I have a septoplasty and bilateral turbinectomy procedure performed as I have been suffering with extreme nasal congestion for the past year. Like everyone else who has these procedures suggested I am petrified of getting Empty Nose Syndrome. How safe is a turbinectomy in 2016 and should I suggest a different method to my ENT?

Doctor Answers 4

Generally safe and common procedure

Septoplasty and turbinate reduction surgery are very common procedures performed by ENT physicians.  It is safe.  The main important aspect is to consult with a surgeon who is very experienced with the procedure, someone who does a lot of these surgeries.  The septoplasty requires repositioning of the cartilage in an expert fashion.  And the turbinate membrane reduction requires trimming and reducing the correct amount of tissue.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Turbinectomy candidate

As long as there is a conservative amount of tissue removed from the inferior turbinates,  it is very rare to get emptying nose syndrome.   Best to check with your operative surgeon to see if they have ever  created ENS.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Turbinate surgery

Turbinate reduction is very commonly done especially in conjunction with a septoplasty.  The turbinates are reduced not totally removed.  As such, having an "empty nose syndrome" is very rare. I would make sure your ENT is board certified and also let him/her know about your concerns.  

Sunny Park, MD, MPH
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Is Turbinate surgery safe and well tolerated? Yes

Thanks for your post. Septoplasty and bilateral partial turbinate reduction procedures are commonly performed surgeries for patients suffering from nasal obstruction, congestion, deviated nasal septum and enlarged inferior nasal turbinates which have not responded to medical or allergy therapy. When performed correctly the nose will not be "empty".Empty nose syndrome is a rare condition associated with patients who unfortunately have had radical traditional or endoscopic sinus surgery or inappropriate total removal of many normal intranasal structures including, inferior, middle and sometime supreme turbinates in conjunction with aggressive management for chronic sinusitis. An experienced and skilled ENT may recommend a conservative inferior turbinate reduction, along with correct for a deviated septum. You may wish to check the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAOHNS) website for more information about risks, benefits and complications for these services. Overall, patient satisfaction and safety scores are high for septoplasty and turbinate surgery. Best wishes. 

Fred J. Bressler, MD, FACS
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.