Outfracture of the Inferior Turbinate: A Computed Tomography Study

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Various surgical treatment modalities are available for inferior turbinate hypertrophy. Each is related to well-established complications, but still there is a lack of consensus on the optimal technique. Outfracture of the inferior turbinate is thought to be a minimally destructive procedure among all other reductive turbinate interventions. The authors’ aim was to assess the long-term effects of inferior turbinate outfracture technique in patients with mild or moderate inferior turbinate hypertrophies.


Twenty inferior turbinates in 10 patients were outfractured during a septoplasty procedure. The distance of the inferior turbinate bone to the lateral nasal wall was compared at three different levels of the nasal passage before and after (at 9 months) surgery with computed tomography scans of each patient at (1) the first section in which the inferior turbinate bone could be seen entirely (anterior portion), (2) the level of the maxillary sinus ostium (middle portion), and (3) the last section in which the inferior turbinate bone could be seen entirely (posterior portion).


A statistically significant degree of lateralization was observed at all levels in all patients. The mean lateralization rates were 15, 26, and 23 percent for the right side, and 26, 29, and 25 percent for the left side at the first, second, and third levels, respectively. There was no bleeding, edema, or crusting due to the outfracture procedure in any patient.


The authors’ results suggest that outfracture of the inferior turbinate is an effective and durable technique, which can be performed easily to enlarge the nasal airway in mild and moderate inferior turbinate hypertrophies with minimal morbidity.

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