Conchoplasty is a surgical procedure to reduce the enlarged turbinates of the nose.
Nasal turbinates (or nasal conchae) are elongated, narrow, curled shell-like structures, located within the nasal cavity. There are 3 pairs of the turbinates: superior, middle, and inferior. The inferior turbinates are the largest. The main function of the nasal turbinates is to humidify, warm, and filter the inhaled air before it enters to the lungs.
The turbinates become enlarged (turbinate hypertrophy) due to a cold or an infection. Allergies or irritants (for example, tobacco smoke) can cause the enlargement of the turbinates as well. With age, the turbinates can also become thicker. Sometimes the enlargement of the turbinates is congenital. The enlargement of the inferior turbinates is most common.
The enlarged turbinates reduce the nasal cavities, and this can cause nasal obstruction resulting in difficulty to breathe through the nose, impaired sense of smell, snoring, and a runny nose.
In the presence of these symptoms, when conservative treatment is not effective, a surgical procedure – conchoplasty – is recommended.
How Is the Surgery Performed?
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and it usually takes about 30 minutes to complete.
The procedure is done through the nasal cavities. The pathologically enlarged or dislocated portion of the turbinate is removed surgically. Thus, the size of the turbinate is reduced that leads to decreased resistance to airflow and improved nasal breathing.
Conchoplasty is frequently performed in conjunction with septoplasty..
The size of the nasal turbinates can also be reduced by applying electrocautery or radiofrequency thermal ablation. These procedures can be performed under local anesthesia.
After the surgery, the surgeon may place special nasal packing inside the nose, which is usually removed the next day.
What Should Be Known After Surgery?
- The patient should refrain from smoking for 2–3 weeks;
- For 2 weeks, the patient should avoid blowing his/her nose and physical activity, leading to increased blood pressure and bleeding;
- It is recommended to wash the nose with saltwater and use oil drops for 2 weeks after the surgery.