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Nasal Turbinates

Patients dealing with conditions stemming from enlarged Nasal Turbinates can rely on Dallas Sinus Center for treatment options.

What are nasal turbinates and how do enlarged nasal turbinates cause problems?

The turbinates are structures made of thin bone covered by spongy mucous membranes in the nasal cavities. There are three on each side and are called the superior, middle and inferior turbinates. The turbinates have three main functions. They warm the air we breathe, humidify this air as it passes through the nose, and the mucous layer of the turbinates assist in filtering particles such as dust and pollen.

The turbinates, particularly the inferior, can block breathing when they are enlarged. The inferior turbinates are most commonly enlarged by swelling of the mucous membranes caused by allergies. This enlargement is due to increased blood flow into the tissue which then are congested. The middle turbinates can be enlarged if an air bubble develops inside the bone, a condition called concha bullosa. Concha bullosa of the middle turbinates may narrow the space through which the sinuses drain, the ostiomeatal complex, and hence can contribute to sinusitis.

Turbinate enlargement can be treated in a number of ways to improve the nasal obstruction and drainage they cause. Medical treatments are often helpful, and when these are not effective the ENT doctors at the Dallas Sinus Center have minimally invasive surgical treatment options available.

Content courtesy of AAO American Academy of Otolaryngology