Controversies in the Management of Inferior Turbinate Hypertrophy: A Comprehensive Review

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Abstract

Nasal obstruction must frequently be addressed during functional rhinoplasty. Even after a properly performed septorhinoplasty correcting septal deflection and/or nasal valve collapse, nasal obstruction may persist due to turbinate hypertrophy. Turbinates have many important functions, including warming and humidification of inspired air, and numerous factors can contribute to pathologic enlargement.

Management of inferior turbinate hypertrophy has been actively debated for more than a century. The primary goal of therapy is to maximize the nasal airway for as extended a period as possible while minimizing complications of therapy, such as nasal drying and hemorrhage. This review describes the various medical and surgical therapeutic modalities widely used today, with emphasis placed on surgical management of the inferior turbinates. Advantages, disadvantages, complications, and controversies of each form of treatment are reviewed and discussed. A staged protocol of increasingly invasive interventions is proposed. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 103: 300, 1999.)

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