Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction | PreferredMD
Plastic Surgery

Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction

Procedure • By Biraj Patel

Septoplasty and turbinate reduction are common surgical procedures aimed at improving nasal airflow and alleviating breathing difficulties. 

What is a septoplasty?

Septoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to correct a deviated septum, which is when the thin wall separating the nostrils is misaligned. This misalignment can cause nasal obstruction, difficulty breathing, recurrent sinus infections, and other related symptoms. Septoplasty aims to straighten the septum, allowing for improved airflow and overall nasal function.

How is septoplasty performed?

  • The surgeon makes an incision inside the nose to access the septum.
  • The deviated portions of the septum are carefully reshaped or removed.
  • If necessary, additional procedures such as turbinate reduction may be performed simultaneously.
  • The incisions are then closed, and nasal packing or splints may be inserted temporarily to support the septum during healing.

How to prepare for septoplasty?

Schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist who will assess your symptoms and determine if septoplasty is necessary. During the visit you’ll discuss your medical history, including any allergies, medications, or previous surgeries. Make sure to inform your surgeon about any current medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. During the appointment, don’t hesitate to ask questions or express concerns you may have about the procedure. 

If septoplasty surgery is deemed necessary, your surgeon will provide specific instructions to follow before the surgery. It is essential to adhere to these guidelines to minimize potential complications.

You may be asked to stop taking certain medications or supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding, such as blood thinners or aspirin. If you smoke, your surgeon will likely recommend quitting or at least abstaining from smoking for a specified period before and after the surgery, as smoking can impair healing.

Septoplasty recovery time

Recovery time varies, but most patients can resume normal activities within a week. Initially, you may experience nasal congestion, swelling, and mild discomfort, which can be managed with pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. Avoid strenuous activities, blowing your nose forcefully, or wearing glasses that rest on the bridge of your nose during the initial healing phase.

Follow your surgeon's instructions for post-operative care and attend scheduled follow-up appointments.

What is turbinate reduction?

The nasal turbinates are structures inside the nose that help filter, humidify, and warm the air we breathe. Sometimes, the turbinates can become enlarged or swollen, leading to nasal congestion, chronic sinusitis, and breathing difficulties. Turbinate reduction is a surgical procedure that aims to reduce the size of the turbinates, improving nasal airflow and relieving related symptoms.

Turbinate reduction surgery

There are different techniques for turbinate reduction, including radiofrequency ablation, laser therapy, or surgical resection. During the procedure, the surgeon targets the enlarged turbinates and removes or reduces their size. Turbinate reduction can be performed independently or in combination with septoplasty, depending on the individual's specific needs.

Pros and cons of turbinate reduction


  • Improved nasal airflow and breathing.
  • Relief from chronic nasal congestion.
  • Reduction in snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
  • Enhanced quality of life for individuals suffering from chronic nasal obstruction.


  • Temporary nasal dryness or crusting.
  • Minimal risk of bleeding, infection, or scarring. 
  • Rare instances of persistent or recurrent nasal obstruction.

How painful is turbinate reduction?

Turbinate reduction is typically associated with minimal discomfort. The procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia, ensuring a painless experience during the surgery. Post-operative discomfort can be managed with pain medication prescribed by your surgeon, if needed.

Septoplasty and turbinate reduction: Similarities and differences

Septoplasty and turbinate reduction are distinct procedures, but can be performed together to address both septal deviations and enlarged turbinates. While septoplasty focuses on correcting the nasal septum, turbinate reduction targets the nasal turbinates. Combining both procedures can provide comprehensive improvement in nasal airflow and overall breathing function.

What happens after septoplasty with turbinate reduction?

You may experience swelling, nasal congestion, and mild discomfort after the surgery, which should gradually subside during the recovery period. It is common to breathe through your mouth initially due to nasal congestion.

Follow your surgeon's instructions regarding cleaning the nasal passages and any prescribed medications. Attend follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress and address any concerns.

How long does it take to recover from septoplasty with turbinate reduction?

Recovery times vary depending on the individual and the extent of the procedures performed. Generally, most patients can resume normal activities within a week. However, complete healing may take several weeks to a few months. Your surgeon will provide specific post-operative instructions tailored to your situation.

Book an appointment with top-rated ENT physicians on PreferredMD

Septoplasty and turbinate reduction are effective surgical interventions for individuals experiencing nasal obstruction, breathing difficulties, and related symptoms. By addressing structural abnormalities and reducing the size of nasal turbinates, these procedures can significantly improve nasal airflow and quality of life. 

If you are considering septoplasty and turbinate reduction, consult with an ENT specialist to discuss your options, the associated costs, and potential benefits and risks specific to your case. Remember to follow your surgeon's guidance during the pre-operative, surgical, and post-operative stages to ensure a successful recovery.

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