Benefits and Risks – Powered Septoplasty With Turbinoplasty
Be sure to ask your doctor for a detailed explanation of the benefits and risks of this procedure, as well as his or her experience performing it.
The main benefit of this surgery is that you should be able to breathe more freely and will probably have fewer sinus infections. Like other FESS procedures, it’s minimally invasive and you can usually go home the same day. The surgeon uses a special instrument called a microdebrider with a tiny rotating tip. This method has multiple advantages.
By allowing a more precise, targeted removal of tissue, the microdebrider helps your surgeon correct the deviation and save healthy tissue. Other benefits include:
- Better visibility of anatomy – When using the microdebrider, the surgeon can remove tissue more precisely because he or she can directly see the septum during the procedure.
- Faster procedure with less time under anesthesia – The microdebrider allows the surgeon to work quickly and safely, so you spend less time under anesthesia.
- May reduce risk of damage to healthy tissue and risk of perforated septum – The microdebrider is a more controlled and precise surgical instrument, which may help prevent accidentally damaging or removing too much tissue.
Sometimes the turbinates can regrow or form scar tissue, and the sinus infections come back. But for many patients, the results of a powered turbinoplasty last significantly longer compared to other turbinate surgery methods.1,2 Additional benefits include:
- More complete, precise removal – With some methods, it’s 6 to 8 weeks before the surgeon can tell if the turbinates are reduced enough. The microdebrider allows your surgeon to immediately see how much tissue is removed as it’s happening, and remove more tissue if needed.
- Preserves normal turbinate function – The microdebrider is more precise and accurate, which helps your surgeon save enough healthy tissue to allow your turbinates to work properly.
- Doesn’t cause heat or laser damage – Heat or laser techniques are harder to control or predict, so it’s easier to accidentally char or burn nearby tissue. The microdebrider is easier to control.
No surgery is 100% safe, because there is always the risk from anesthesia and possible infection. Be sure to ask your doctor about potential complications from your procedure.
Surgery to treat a deviated septum is generally safe, but there are a few risks. If too much tissue is removed, you could have a collapsed septum, making the nose look deformed, or a perforated septum, a hole in the septum that whistles when you breathe and can cause bleeding. This risk is less likely with the powered septoplasty method.
In some cases, the septum reshapes itself back to the deviated position. This is because the cartilage has some memory, like a spring, and wants to return to its original shape. Rare complications include bleeding, numbness of the front teeth, and a reduced or complete loss of the sense of smell.
While turbinate surgery is generally safe, there are a few risks. The main risk is removing too much tissue, which means the turbinates can’t warm and humidify the air you breathe. The result is a permanently dry, crusty nose that can be painful. This risk is less likely with the powered turbinoplasty method.
Though uncommon, other risks of turbinate surgery include bleeding, chronic nasal inflammation, and a loss of the sense of smell.
- Yanez C, Mora N. Inferior turbinate debriding technique: ten-year results. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2008;138:170-5.
- Sacks R, Thornton MA, Boustred RN. Modified endoscopic turbinoplasty - long term results compared to submucosal electrocautery and submucosal powered turbinoplasty. Presented at the American Rhinologic Society, May 14, 2005.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
- Take the Sinusitis Quiz
- Take a quiz to see if you may have sinusitis