The turbinates are fleshy formations located in the nasal cavities, three on either side, which perform the function of humidifying, warming and cleansing the air breathed in.
Their structure is made up of three layers of different tissues: a ciliated mucous membrane rich in glands that cleans and humidifies the air on top, vascular tissue that warms the air passing through in the middle, and an osseous structure that constitutes the skeleton at the bottom.
Various factors can lead to enlargement of the turbinates, thus transforming their important function into an obstacle to nasal respiration. For example, nasal allergies, infections, and the use of vasoconstrictors can cause chronic swelling above all of the inferior turbinates, which mechanically impedes the passage of air in the nasal cavities. Rhinoendoscopy makes it possible to formulate a precise diagnosis with no difficulty.
If pharmacological treatment proves unsuccessful due to lack of response by the patient, the course of action indicated is a surgical submucosal decongestion of the inferior turbinates. The earlier indications of highly aggressive operations of partial or total turbinectomy have now given way to less invasive procedures such as laser and radiofrequency. The latter technique is the one I personally prefer due to the particular precision of execution, the absence of discomfort for the patient, and the excellent results obtained. It involves the insertion of a tiny electrode into the mucosa of the enlarged turbinate, which then transmits high-frequency electromagnetic waves that vaporize the cells through resonance without destroying them and thus reduce the turbinates. After treatment, the volume of the turbinates is reduced, the nasal respiratory space is increased, and the functional result proves satisfactory and lasting over time.