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Turbinoplasty surgery or turbinectomy | Nasal cornets

English subtitled video

Turbinoplasty is also known by other names such as turbinectomy, carnotomy or turbinate surgery. With a turbinoplasty surgery we reduce the size of the nasal turbinates. This is done to improve breathing in people that for different reasons do not breath well. The turbinates are 3 bones inside the nose, that are on each side of the nasal cavities. Sometimes these have a certain shape, from birth, from allergies or from an accident, that prevent from breathing well and their size has to be reduced.
Nasal turbinates
Nasal turbinates
Some elements as the change in temperature, allergies, pollution or certain specific alterations cause a permanent increase in the size of the nasal turbinates, this is known as hypertrophy or hyperplasia. When this happens, certain symptoms can appear as a blocked-up nose, headache (especially in the mornings) and poor sleep at night.
Hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates
Hypertrophy of the nasal turbinates
This can usually be confused with the septoplasty, which is similar but the surgery is different and another bone is touched. It also helps improve the breathing but it is not the same, as in this case what is touched is not the nasal turbinates but the septum, which is the bone that separates each hole of the nose. Sometimes this surgery can be combined with a septoplasty to correct a deviated nasal septum that prevents us from breathing correctly, with the turbinoplasty, that corrects the nasal turbinates that also prevent from breathing well. The addition of both surgeries can improve a lot a patients breathing.


At Clínica Sanza we rely on the Sagrat Cor Hospital, part of the Quirónsalud group, to perform our surgical procedures.
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People that present a difficulty to breath, due to allergic rhinitis, traumatisms, smoking, etc. And they want to improve their quality of life. Many times, this is associated to a deviated nasal septum.


The procedure is done under local anaesthesia and sedation with no need of incisions, as it is done through the nostrils. It is done with radiofrequency through electrodes that rise the temperature in the tissues, without damaging the adjacent structures, to reduce the size of the nasal turbinates. The reduction of the turbinate is immediate, although after an intervention it is normal that the nasal turbinates are swollen for at least 5 to 10 days, depending on each patient.


  • 45 minutes to 1 hour



  • Evaluation of the degree of hypertrophy in the nasal turbinates through a rynoscopy and nasal ventilatory function

  • Follow specific guidelines as determined by the doctor

  • Scans, analytics and tests on cardiac and respiratory status


  • Local and sedation, or general


  • Ambulatory


  • After a turbinoplasty a patient needs to use nose plugs for 24 or 48 hours

  • Resto during 24 hours

  • Anitbiotic treatment and anti-inflammatories

  • Weekly check-ups during 1 month


  • Normal life but no excessive physical activity because of the nose plugs

  • Be careful in not receiving any bumps in the treated area during one or two months


    • Improvement on the nasal ventilation

    • There is a clear psychological improvement related to the self-esteem and profile the patient has

    • Snoring can be eliminated, depending on each case


  • Simple operation


    • Surgery with low risk

Possible complications

  • Post operatory bleeding

  • Infection

  • Formation of synechiae or adhesion between the turbinate and septum

  • Scab formation

  • Hypertrophy recurrency

  • Empty nose syndrome or atrophic rhinitis (especially if a complete resection of the turbinate has been done)

Whatever your case may be, do not hesitate in contacting us.

Clínica Sanza in Barcelona, Spain, quality service

Frequently asked questions about nose surgery

When will I see a definitive result after a Rhinoplasty?

There are many factors that influence, the type of surgery, the patient’s own characteristics, previous interventions, etc. In a general way in 15 to 21 days you can already see some approximate results, but usually is until the third month until the result is more or less definitive. However, the nose may undergo small changes for up to a year.

At what age can I have a Rhinoplasty?

It is not advisable to operate on any patient until they have completed their natural growth process. In girls this is usually given at 14 or 15 years old, in boys it is usually until 18, so in general terms we do not recommend carrying out this type of intervention until after adolescence.

Can nose deviation and shortness of breath be corrected in the same surgery?

Yes, it is very frequent to see patients who breathe badly because they have some degree of septal deviation that affects the correct flow of air inside the nose. Correcting this deviation or obstruction improves appearance and restores respiratory function. That is to say, we correct the aesthetic and functional part.

What type of anesthesia is used in Rhinoplasty?

It depends on the type of intervention we have to carry out. If it’s just the cartilage (tip of the nose) to be corrected, it can be perfectly done with local anesthesia and a small sedation. In cases in which we have to carry out corrections of the septum or osteothomies it is essential to perform it under general anesthesia.

Should I stay in the hospital after a Rhinoplasty?

The intervention itself does not require overnight, but we must distinguish whether we perform a simple (cartilage) or a complete (bone+cartilage) rhinoplasty. In the first case it is ambulatory and in the second case it may be necessary to spend 24 hours of hospitalization, specially due to the residual anaesthesia effects, more than because of the procedure itself.

Do I have to wear nasal plugs?

Nasal plugs are not always necessary, only when the nasal septum is modified. If required, they will be removed the day after surgery, or if you don’t bleed within 48 hours.

Do I have to wear a cast or splint after a rhinoplasty?

Not all nose interventions require the use of a cast or splint, only in cases of osteotomies, and it has to be used normally for one week. In other cases it is possible to use a support splint for one to 5 days, depending on the inflammation.

What exams do I need before performing a Rhinoplasty?

If we speak of a simple procedure with local anesthesia, only a complete analysis is required. In the case of more complex procedures under sedation or general anesthesia, though, we will add a chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram.

How long does the intervention last and what is it like?

1 or 2 hours approximately. Aesthetic rhinoplasty consists of modifying the shape of the nose through small incisions or openings that are made inside the nose, or at the base of it in such a way that there is no external scar or it is practically imperceptible.

When can I go back to work?

It depends on the surgery and the type of activity you do. In cases that do not involve more physical exercise can return to normal work after 3 days, but it should be noted that for this time there may still be inflammation and some bruising in the area of the nose and eyelids. Usually after 7-10 days there are no signs of the intervention and after one month intense physical exercise and sport can be carried out.

Does it hurt?

There is a legend that rhinoplasty, both simple and complete, is very painful, but that’s just not true. It doesn’t hurt a bit. Only if you touch the nose you’ll feel the pain, but generally there’s no need to take any painkillers.

If I don’t like it, can I rectify it?

Yes, of course you can. You must feel well with yourself. But it cannot be touched up until at least 6 months after the surgery.

Is it always the same shape, when it comes to nose surgery?

Not at all. Many years ago, it was the same procedure for all nose jobs, but nowadays you can choose the way you want it done.


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