With pollen counts higher than they have ever been, seasonal allergies have become almost unbearable for many throughout the nation. Pollen and other airborne particles irritate the nose, causing it to swell and produce extra mucus. This not only makes daily living more difficult, but it can also cause sleeping troubles as airways are obstructed by swollen tissue. The obstruction may cause snoring and—in extreme cases—sleep apnea; leading to fatigue, relationship troubles, and even heart problems.
Fortunately, there is a 20-minute fix for sleep problems resulting from allergies. This procedure, called turbinate reduction, helps reduce airway obstruction by reducing the size of certain structures within the nose. This helps alleviate the symptoms of seasonal and chronic allergies by allowing for more restful sleep.
Nasal Tissues and Blockage
Inside each nostril, there is a set of protrusions from the inside wall that are called turbinates. Each nostril has three:
- Superior turbinate, which is farthest back in the nose and protects the olfactory bulb
- Middle turbinate, which is connected to the superior turbinate by nerve endings
- Inferior turbinate, which is closest to the nostril opening and is the largest turbinate.
In most cases, the inferior turbinates are the ones that cause the most airway obstruction, ranging from 25% of the airway to complete nasal blockage. If these tissues are swollen due to allergies or other influences, they can make breathing difficult, especially at night when you are lying down.
In the past, dealing with oversized turbinate structures in the nose was a matter of incisions and stitches that would take days or weeks to heal. Now, a new procedure is available that can have an allergy-swollen nose back to normal breathing in as little as 20 minutes. This is turbinate reduction.
The way turbinate reduction works is by radio frequency energy introduced via a coblation wand. The process goes like this:
- Numbing: The nose is numbed with a mild anesthetic. This may cause the patient to feel a little light-headed, but there is no pain involved in the injection.
- Insertion: A coblation wand is inserted into the oversized inferior turbinate.
- Shrinking: The wand emits a frequency that causes the turbinate to shrink in size. During this process, it is normal for the patient to smell smoke and hear crackling noises.
- Recovery: After the procedure, patients are back to their normal lives within 15 minutes. With no need for either stitches or an IV, there is virtually no recovery time from a turbinate reduction procedure.
Patients undergoing turbinate reduction can expect a dramatic increase in breathing ability day and night. For those who suffer allergies, this can help deal with symptoms that would otherwise be highly problematic.
While turbinate reduction is not a cure for allergies, it can help manage symptoms that would otherwise disturb your sleep. To get the allergy relief through this minimally invasive procedure, contact The Snoring Center today to set up an evaluation.