Types of turbinates

The nasal cavity typically contains three sets of turbinates on each side: the superior turbinates, the middle turbinates, and the inferior turbinates. Most of the airflow in the nose passes between the middle and inferior turbinates. When these turbinates become enlarged, it can lead to difficulties in breathing.

Symptoms of turbinate hypertrophy

Turbinate hypertrophy can manifest with various symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Alternating congestion in the sides of the nose
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal blockage
  • Nasal congestion when lying down
  • Noisy breathing or mouth breathing during sleep
  • Increased nasal drainage
Background media

What causes turbinate hypertrophy?

Several factors can contribute to the development of turbinate hypertrophy. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Upper respiratory infection: Commonly known as the common cold, this viral infection causes inflammation in the nasal passages. This inflammation can lead to an enlargement of the turbinates, resulting in turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Acute sinus infections: These infections cause inflammation and swelling in the nasal passage. The increase in size of the nasal tissues can contribute to turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Allergic rhinitis: This is an allergic response to certain allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, or pollen. The immune reaction to these allergens can cause inflammation in the nasal passages, leading to turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis: Characterized by chronic sneezing or a congested, drippy nose with no apparent cause, non-allergic rhinitis can lead to persistent inflammation in the nasal passage, resulting in turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Chronic sinus inflammation: Long-term inflammation in the sinuses can cause the turbinates to enlarge, resulting in turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Hormonal changes: Certain hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy, can cause the blood vessels in your nose to expand, leading to turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, particularly those used to treat high blood pressure, can cause the nasal blood vessels to expand, leading to turbinate hypertrophy.
  • Deviated septum: This is a condition where the wall between the nostrils is displaced. A deviated septum can restrict airflow through one nostril, causing the turbinate on the other side to enlarge in a compensatory manner, resulting in turbinate hypertrophy.

Medical therapy

Medications are often recommended to alleviate symptoms. Depending on the specific cause of turbinate hypertrophy, your healthcare provider may prescribe:

  • Nasal saline sprays or rinses
  • Nasal antihistamine sprays
  • Nasal steroid sprays
  • Allergy immunotherapy

It's important to note that nasal decongestant sprays (e.g., Oxymetazoline) are suitable for acute cases of turbinate hypertrophy but should only be used for a short period. They are not an appropriate treatment for chronic turbinate hypertrophy.

Background media


When medications do not effectively manage symptoms, your ENT specialist may recommend surgical intervention to reduce the size of the turbinates. Turbinate surgery is typically performed through the nostrils, resulting in minimal visible signs of surgery, such as bruising.

The primary goal of surgery is to decrease the size of the turbinates to enhance nasal airflow while preserving their function. Several surgical procedures are available, depending on your specific diagnosis and the severity of turbinate hypertrophy. Many of these procedures can be performed in the office using specialized devices that reduce turbinate size while preserving the essential mucosal lining.

Is turbinate surgery performed under general anesthesia?

Turbinate surgery may be performed under local or general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. In some cases, it may be combined with other procedures to address nasal obstruction, with septoplasty being the most common associated procedure.

Background media

Why Choose Louisiana ENT for turbinate hypertrophy treatment?

If you are experiencing ongoing issues with turbinate hypertrophy, seeking specialized care is crucial. Louisiana ENT Specialists is your trusted partner in addressing this condition. Our team of dedicated ENT specialists is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating turbinate hypertrophy. We prioritize a patient-centered approach, ensuring that your treatment plan is tailored to your unique needs.

Whether you require medical therapy, surgical intervention, or a combination of treatments, our ENT experts are here to help you effectively manage and alleviate turbinate hypertrophy-related concerns. Don't let turbinate hypertrophy hinder your quality of life. Contact Louisiana ENT today to schedule an appointment and find relief from your symptoms.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

Find Your ENT Request Appointment
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at (225) 769-2222.

We are aware of an issue impacting AT&T wireless customer ability to make phone calls to our facilities. If you are unable to reach us, please use this phone number 786-348-2775. We are in touch with AT&T to resolve this issue.

You can request an appointment HERE.