Upcoming Nasal Surgery. What is Turbinate Reduction and Lateralization?

Coming up this month, I have a septorhinoplasty procedure. My Doctor also wants to do a Turbinate Reduction and Lateralization. I'm a bit skeptical, what do these terms mean? My doctor explain but I didn't quite understand. Will Turbinate Reduction + Lateralization affect my nasal tip or nostrils? I just want a septorhinoplasty to fix a broken nose, I don't want to mess with the tip of my nose at all. Will these two things affect the appearance of the tip of my nose or nostrils? I don't want to to anything un-natural to my nose; I'm simply trying to fix a broken nose. I said I didn't want the turbinate and lateralization, my doctor didn't listen. Please help! Surgeries in two weeks. I really need this operation but only want the septorhino. Thank you

Doctor Answers 3

Septoplasty, turbinate surgery, and rhinoplasty are three completely separate procedures

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A functional septoplasty, and turbinate surgery are performed to improve airflow dynamics in the nose, and will not change the shape of it. They are performed for medical necessity to breathe better. A rhinoplasty is performed for cosmetic purposes to change the shape of the nose and is paid for by the patient. For more information and diagrams of turbinates, please see the link and the video below

Nasal surgery

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Turbinectomy is the removal of tissue inside the nose the improve the breathing after surgery.  I perform it quite often and it works well.  I am not sure what your surgeon means by the  term lateralization.

Septorhinoplasty and Turbinate Lateralization? Yes

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Don't worry. The turbinates are intra-nasal structures that exist in our nose and serve to make mucous, warm and humidify the air and assist with proper airflow. They are naturally attached to the inside wall of your nose and do not effect the shape or appearance of your nose. When fixing a broken nose or performing rhinoplasty to enhance one's appearance, it is not uncommon for the surgeon to routinely move the turbinate to the side by a process known as lateralization or out-fracture. This will give your nose more natural airway space and still preserve the proper function of the turbinates. Whatever your cosmetic goals are, turbinate lateralization will not factor into an unnatural shape to the nostrils or change the tip, as these things are not related. Turbinate lateralization is not a big deal, but could help you with better nasal airway function after septorhinoplasty. Should you not consent to the turbinates, you may have difficult breathing through your nose afterward. I assume you trust your physician to use his best judgment on your behalf. I would allow your doctor to proceed as planned. Hope this answer helps. 

Fred J. Bressler, MD, FACS
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.