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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What questions should one ask a surgeon before nasal surgery?

    My son is going to have septoplasty and turbinectomy surgery using a new laser procedure on half of his nose. What questions should he ask the surgeon before agreeing on this new procedure?
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    Dr Jason Roth

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    ENT and Facial Plastic surgeon with a special interest in adult and paediatric ENT problems, rhinoplasty, facial plastic surgery, nose and sinus disorders. View Profile

    There are many techniques and devices available to address enlarged turbinates, the most recent of which is a coblation turbinoplasty and I suspect that is what you have been offered. CO2 laser turbinoplasties are occasionally still performed.  The septoplasty component of your son's surgery would be performed using traditional techniques. 

    The newer procedures for reducing the size of turbinates tend to be more conservative in terms of the amount of tissue and bone that is removed compared to the techniques popularised by P.J. Wormald that involve a powered microdebrider approach to the turbinates or more traditionally a complete removal of the turbinates. These newer techniques have a lower risk of post-operative bleeding and discomfort. In some patients however they do not reduce the size of the turbinates sufficiently and a second (more traditional) procedure is required. 

    Good questions to ask would be - 
    - How do the airway results with this new procedure compare with traditional techniques?
    - What are the chances that a further procedure would be required? 
    - What are the advantages over traditional techinques? 
    - Are there any additional risks? (lasers for example have the added risk of airway burns and fires that are not present with traditional techniques)

    Hope that helps

    Jason Roth
    ENT Surgeon

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