The turbinates are “mounds” of tissue in the nasal cavity that shrink and swell periodically to humidify, warm, and direct airflow. If we did not have turbinates, airflow would be dry, cool, and turbulent in a large nasal cavity. Allergies or infection can trigger persistent and excess swelling of the turbinates, thereby obstructing the airway. Steroid sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants are very helpful, but may not be enough over time.
Because the turbinates play such an important role in normal nasal health, yet can be a problem in certain situations, the best treatment is a conservative reduction. This may involve merely fracturing and pushing the turbinate out of the way or partially removing turbinate bone and tissue.