Is turbinate reduction or deviated septum surgery for mewing effective?
In a previous discussion we have talked about whether or not my deviated septum or inflamed turbinates is the cause of my mouth breathing.
My ear nose and throat (ENT) doctor outlined how septal deviation and inflammation of turbinates compounds inhibition of nasal circulation.
As my nasal passage is relatively open on one side or the other throughout the day and seems to switch back and forth every few hours, inflamed turbinates seems to be the more likely root of my issue, with septal deviation contributing to my issue, but not comprising the majority of it.
We speculate that by resolving my inflamed turbinates, I could likely comfortably breathe through my nose without significant difficulty, and perhaps even start using a nasal mask with my CPAP machine rather than my full face mask that I've been using for seven years now.
There are two surgical procedures that would be worth exploring further.
Deviated septum surgery, and turbinate reduction.
While I would much rather figure out what is spiking my inflammatory response and removing it from my environment, hearing out my options was still worthwhile, as surgical intervention isn't something I will completely take off the table.
My ENT detailed the pros and cons to each option, and what can be expected in general.
Turbinate reduction is a less involving procedure with a lower risk profile and significantly lower recovery time.
Apparently, in my case, it would definitely relieve most of the congestion in my right nostril, but it may be less effective in my left nostril because my septum is deviated to that side.
I asked the doctor what this “minor” procedure entails exactly.
He explained to me that the procedure is in office and only takes half an hour.
Under local anesthetic they stick needles into the turbinates on the side of the nose and freeze them up.
Afterwards, they put little probes in beside the bone and into the inflamed, hypertrophied areas.
Using heat, the turbinates are shrunk down, and then they are pushed away from the middle part of the nose, thereby creating more room for breathing.
The recovery period involves at least one week of no heavy lifting or straining, and is followed by 4 to 6 weeks of constant care with saltwater rinsing and flushing to get rid of the crusting that will occur in the nose.
There will be an immediate relief in congestion, but that will be followed shortly thereafter by congestion again as swelling and crusting blocks the airway during recovery.
Following that, things will start to get much better again from there as the swelling and crusting subsides.
Deviated Septum Surgery
Deviated septum surgery would be a far more involving process, whereby they would not only shrink down the turbinates, but forcefully move my septum back into alignment.
This procedure takes place in a hospital and has a much longer recovery time.
To achieve full nasal congestion relief, this would be the ideal procedure, however, the downtime and involvement of this procedure seemed to outweigh the potential benefit in my case as my inflamed turbinates seem to be the major contributing factor to my congestion, with only a relatively minor amount of airway inhibition occurring in my left nostril as a direct result of my deviated septum.
Empty Nose Syndrome
I had heard about something called “empty nose syndrome”, which apparently is a major concern post-surgery [R].
Empty nose syndrome can occur when part or all of the turbinate structures attached to the wall of the nose are removed during surgery.
The doctor assured me that removing turbinates is no longer a practice used today, unlike the way things were done previously, so empty nose syndrome after either procedure would be impossible with todays technology.