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Radio Frequency Turbinate Reduction Post-Op Instructions

Radio Frequency Turbinate Reduction 


Explanation and Post Operative Instructions

The procedure you have undergone is aimed at decreasing the size of the inferior turbinates (which are structures inside the nose which help to regulate airflow through the nasal cavities by swelling and shrinking regularly). When both inferior turbinates remain swollen, nasal blockage (congestion) results.

The procedure uses radio frequency (very similar to AM radio waves) to warm the molecules of water inside the turbinate tissue. This results in retraction and shrinkage of the tissue over time (usually up to 8 weeks). Because the warmth is delivered deep into the tissues, and not on the surface, there is very little crusting and almost no bleeding. This is a major advantage over other methods (surgical removal or by laser), which affect the outside of the turbinate. By affecting only the inside, radio frequency gives excellent results, with amazingly little discomfort and minimal risks.

Immediately after the surgery

It is common to feel increased congestion the first 24 hours, sometimes even complete blockage. This usually resolves within one day. The best way to treat it is with salt-water rinses (see below). If the congestion is very uncomfortable, and is not relieved by salt-water, you may use a nasal spray decongestant (such as Afrin) for a maximum of 2 doses in each nostril, for the first 24 hours only (maximum total of 4 doses per nostril). SALT WATER RINSING (SEE BELOW) IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO TO ALLOW RAPID HEALING WITH MAXIMUM COMFORT.

What to expect after that

The initial congestion usually returns to normal within 1 day. Over the first week, there is a gradual improvement in the nasal breathing. However, it takes up to 8 weeks to get the complete results.

There may sometime be crust formation, but this should be minimal. If you feel your nose remains significantly blocked past the second day of the procedure, please call our office to schedule a follow up appointment. In a small number of cases, a crust can form and can easily be removed in the office. If you do not have any problems with significant congestion at the beginning, Dr. Michelle Putnam, Amanda Salvado, and Dorothy Wang will plan on seeing you again 2 months after the procedure, to evaluate the final healing and outcome of the procedure.

Salt water rinses – Instructions

  • Recipe: You may either buy generic saline spray in the pharmacy (such as Ocean spray), or mix your own at home. Home recipe: boil 4 cups of water, let cool to room temperature, then add 1 TEASPOON of table salt (1/4 teaspoon for each cup of water). Put most of it in the refrigerator, and keep the rest available at room temperature for the salt-water rinses. Take a portion out of the refrigerator as needed for regular use. The refrigerated portion will last up to a week. Use each room temperature portion within 24 hours.
  • How to do it: If using the spray, simply apply 2 sprays in each nostril, at least 5 times a day during the first week. If using the rinses described above, sniff 1 tablespoon of the salt-water preparation in each nostril 5 times a day. This can be done by using a dropper (4-5 drops in each nostril), by sniffing it out of a tablespoon, or simply sniffing it out of the palm of your (washed) hands. After the first week, you may decrease the frequency gradually, as you feel the need, until you feel you do not need it anymore (you cannot overdo it, and it is very comfortable to do, so you can do it as long as you feel the need for it).


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (310) 204-4111.