Should I Have my Inferior Turbinates - Bilateral Reduced?

My rhinoplasty surgeon is going to charge $2800 extra to reduce the inferior turbinates to help with breathing. I am already getting him to fix my deviated septum which is the main prob, so I'm not sure if I should take this off the 'To Do List' and save almost $3,000. This surgeon is really good, so I am going to still use him, but I'm wondering just how much reducing those will help my breathing... Seems to me this is a 'tack on' charge and I'm seriously considering having him not trim them.

Doctor Answers 14

Inferior turbinates -bilateral reduction

The nasal obstruction can be from either a deviated septum or turbinate hypertrophy, in many instances it is caused by both.  A deviated septum is often caused by trauma to the septum, causing it to become crooked such that it blocks airflow out of the nose 1 or both sides.  Turbinate hypertrophy can be caused by allergies, sinus infections, inhaled dust, hormones, altitude, and air pressure changes.  While there is a charge for turbinate surgery, $3,000 seems a little excessive. Turbinate surgery is only necessary if nasal obstruction is caused directly by the turbinates themselves.  It might be best to have a second opinion to determine if they need to be done.


Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Turbinate reduction may be performed at the time of rhinoplasty surgery in many cases.

"Inferior" turbinates are called so because they are located at the
bottom of your nasal airway. These filter and humidify inspired air, and
are the largest of your nose's three turbinates. The one at the top is
small, sometimes absent, and called the superior turbinate. The one in
the middle is called the middle turbinate, and that is an important
landmark in the nose when sinonasal surgery is performed. If your inferior turbinates are large and obstructing, they may be
reduced at the time of rhinoplasty. They may be elecrodessicated, or
surgically excised. If surgical excision is performed, care must be
taken to leave enough turbinate tissue behind to adequately function.
The most common complication of turbinate reduction is bleeding within
the first 21 days postoperative, and turbinate reduction may be
associated with crusting and obstruction during your healing period. Hope this helps. Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 382 reviews

Stuffy Nose

Nasal congestion can be anatomic or responsive.  Meaning a fixed obstruction such as a  deviated septum or large turbinates or the formation of polys or inflammed mucosa from allergic rhinitis. As an ENT/Facial Plastic Surgeon I routinely address both form and function of the nose.  
Find the best surgeon to address your problems.
Take care
Dr Carlos Ayala

Carlos Ayala, MD, FACS
Mcallen Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Is Inferior Turbinate Reduction Necessary?

Inferior turbinate reduction when doing a rhinoplasty and maintaining or improving the nasal airway is almost always beneficial because this maneuver will increase the size of the patient's airway. You can get a second opinion; however,  If you trust your surgeon to do your rhinoplasty do not second guess him.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Inferior Turbinectomy

Airway obstruction in the nose is largely due to septal deviation and/or inferior turbinate hypertrophy. Turbinate surgery for airway obstruction is often covered by insurance. Before paying $2800 for your surgery, you may look into whether or not your health insurance covers such a procedure. 

Turbinate Reduction with Septorhinoplasty

The inferior turbinates often contribute to nasal obstruction, especially if you have a deviated septum, and having them addressed as part of your nasal surgery makes sense.  In our part of the country, it is reimbursed by insurance, albeit at only about one fifth of the price you were quoted!  If you are paying out of pocket, this fee should be negotiated with your surgeon.

Alternatively, you could defer the turbinate reduction and wait to see if you are still congested after healing from surgery.  If you are, then consider seeing an Otolaryngologist, who should be able to reduce the turbinates with radiofrequency cautery in the office under local anesthesia at a fraction of the cost you were quoted.  Hope this information helps!

James Bartels, MD
Manchester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Should I Have my Inferior Turbinates - Bilateral Reduced?

I have performed Rhinoplasty for over 20 years and never trim the inferior turbinates but rather place kenalog 10 submucosally along the anterior portion of the turbinate to shrink them.  Hope this helps.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Turbinate Resection/Reduction

If your main goal is improving your nasal breathing, then you should strongly consider having the turbinates reduced or resected.  This will contribute to improving your nasal breathing. 

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Turbinate surgery

Turbinate reduction is commonly done with septoplasty if airway improvement is a goal of the surgery and the turbinate membranes have not responded to medical therapy.  It is something that could be done at a later stage if septal surgery alone does not help  you and you are hesitant to proceed.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Turbinate resection during rhinoplasty

Turbinate resection is very effective way to relieve airway obstruction.  The side effects of over-resection are devastating, including foul smelling crusts (ozema) and "empty nose syndrome".  Be sure your surgeon has had a lot of experience with this procedure.

Airway surgery such as turbinate resection is often covered by insurance.

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.