Nasal turbinates are structures located within the nasal cavity. They are also sometimes referred to as nasal concha (singular) or conchae. The turbinate is made up of vessels, tissue, and bone that makes up a shell-shaped structure. The turbinate is responsible for warming air as it enters the nasal cavity to reduce lung irritation. They also add humidity and help clear some foreign debris from the air we breathe.
The turbinates are further broken into three different sections, the upper, middle and lower. Each of these sections plays a different role in your breathing and are vary in their construction.
Unfortunately, when there is an issue with your nasal turbinates, it can wreak havoc on your overall health. This can often be seen in respiratory issues or with symptoms such as allergies that irritate or inflame the conchae. If you have been experiencing some nasal discomfort, it is important to enlist the help of an expert medical team. At Handal Plastic Surgery, we have the talented and experienced staff you need to help you identify and correct the issues associated with the nasal turbinate.
Common Causes and Symptoms
There are a variety of issues that can affect the function of the nasal turbinate. These include:
- The common cold – the discomfort that you feel in your nasal passages when you have a cold are often caused by problems with the nasal turbinate.
- Allergies – Common allergies can irritate your respiratory system, or the airways can be made more uncomfortable when you have issues with the nasal turbinate.
- Sleep apnea – one common cause of sleep apnea is an abnormality in the nasal turbinate.
- Concha Bullosa – this issue is caused by an air pocket located in the middle portion of the turbinate. This can cause improper drainage and increase the potential for infection.
- Nasal Valve Collapse – the nasal valve is the narrowest part of the turbinate. This problem can be further complicated when you have trauma, surgery, or a deviated septum that further constricts the passage.
- Choanal Atresia – this condition is often an issue that affects patients from birth. Additional tissue blocks the nasal passage from being able to grow and develop properly. This growth often affects the middle and lower portions of the turbinate.
- Auditory Tube Dysfunction – this condition is associated with problems in the growth of the auditory, or eustachian tube.
Many of these issues can cause problems with your ability to properly breathe either due to the constriction of a passageway or a blockage, as can be the case with additional mucus production caused by irritation. Additionally, difficulty with breathing increases the stress on other parts of your body, such as your lungs and heart, forcing them to work harder to increase the available oxygen. Sleep apnea has been linked with heart disease or even heart failure.
If you believe that you have any issues associated with nasal turbinate, seek medical help. A proper diagnosis is critical to be able to treat and correct the underlying causes. Unfortunately, many people feel that they have to live with the discomfort, but at Handal Plastic Surgery, we can evaluate your condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
While some turbinate issues can correct themselves, medical help is often required. We attempt to solve the issue at the lowest possible level, so you may work with our staff to determine that medication can be your best initial attack. Of course, if medications do not clear up the issue, we may also look at surgical options. The proper course of action will depend on your situation. Surgeries on the nasal turbinate are either a turbinate reduction or an endoscopic sinus surgery.
If you have been having issues with breathing or nasal discomfort, call Handal Plastic Surgery today and let us show you the difference we can make!