Septal deviation is often associated with hypertrophy of the contralateral inferior turbinate. Failure to reduce the size of the turbinate at the time of septal reconstruction may result in persistent nasal obstruction. The authors present their experience with 408 patients who underwent one of four turbinate procedures over a 6year period. Most patients underwent unilateral turbinate surgery, although bilateral procedures were undertaken in 7 percent of patients. A graduated surgical approach was taken that varied according to the amount of turbinate enlargement and the degree to which mucosa and bone were involved. Full-thickness excision of the anterior third to half of the inferior turbinate (turbinectomy) became a favored procedure. Relief of nasal obstruction was obtained in greater than 90 percent of patients. Healing was satisfactory regardless of the method, and complications, including hemorrhage and infection, were few. Long-term follow-up revealed no untoward sequelae, and no patient developed atrophic rhinitis. The aut hors conclude that turbinate surgery, particularly when unilateral, in the carefully selected patient with nasal obstruction is a useful adjunct to septal surgery.
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