Nasal Airway Obstruction

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Nasal airway obstruction can be uncomfortable and annoying. Blocked nasal passages force you to breathe through your mouth, making simple, everyday activities such as eating, speaking, and sleeping more difficult. Sometimes the cause of nasal airway obstruction is enlarged turbinates. Turbinates are small, bony structures located in the nasal passages that are covered with mucous membranes.

Nasal turbinates facilitate the conduction, filtration, heating, and humidification of the air we breathe. Allergies or environmental irritants (such as smoke or household chemicals) are the most common cause of irritation, inflammation, and enlargement of turbinates, resulting in blocked nasal passages. Additional causes of turbinate enlargement include anatomical causes (such as a deviated septum) and hormonal changes (such as those that occur during pregnancy). Turbinate size can also fluctuate throughout the day, especially depending on head position (i.e. standing up versus lying down).

Treatment for nasal airway obstruction

Traditional medical therapy, including allergin/irritant avoidance and/or use of nasal medications, may be sufficient to address turbinate enlargement. In some cases, however, turbinate enlargement may be unresponsive to medical management.

Coblation® is an advanced technology designed to quickly and gently remove and shrink soft tissue inside the turbinates using high frequency energy and saline to alleviate nasal obstruction in patients. Coblation technology does not rely on a heat-driven process to remove target tissue and is designed to preserve surrounding healthy tissue. The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis. In such cases, patients typically return home shortly after the procedure.

Contact a physician to find out if a Coblation turbinate reduction procedure is right for you.

What are turbinates?

Nasal turbinates are bony structures inside the nose that are covered with mucous membranes. As we inhale through the nose, air passes over the turbinates. The turbinates help to warm and clean the air before it enters the lungs.

Why is my nose always obstructed?

Often, the cause of nasal airway obstruction is enlarged turbinates. Allergies or other conditions can cause irritation, inflammation, and enlargement of turbinates, resulting in blocked nasal airway. In some persons, the turbinates can be excessively large, resulting in significant nasal airway obstruction and causing difficulty in breathing.

What are my treatment options?

Non-surgical approaches, such as nasal decongestants and anti-histamines are available, but typically only offer temporary relief. There are also surgical options, including Coblation® turbinate reduction, for patients who don’t get sufficient relief from these conservative treatments.

What is Coblation?

Coblation is an advanced technology using bipolar high frequency energy and a saline-based medium to create a low-temperature plasma field that gently removes and shrinks soft tissue in the turbinates to reduce nasal airway obstruction.


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