Background: Inferior turbinectomy on patients of all ages is a controversial procedure. Its effect on children has been reported little in the literature and the few studies that are available involved relatively older children, i.e., >10 years old. Nasal obstruction caused by extensive hypertrophy of the inferior turbinates is not an uncommon observation in the pediatric population. The clinical manifestations might present as snoring, noisy breathing, mouth breathing, and, possibly, sleep apnea.
Methods: In this study, we followed 227 children <10 years of age who underwent inferior turbinectomy (27 children also underwent a revision of an earlier adenoidectomy), of whom 179 children had significant relief of nasal obstruction at the 1-year follow-up.
Results: Nocturnal breathing was reported to be more regular and otherwise improved in the 36 children with a suspected history of sleep apnea. Forty-two of 47 children who had thick nasal secretions and did not respond to antibiotic therapy before the operation had significant relief postoperatively. Postoperative complications were few and their number did not exceed that of adults.
Conclusions: A complete inferior turbinectomy should be considered in children <10 years of age who have hypertrophied inferior turbinates that cause major interference with nasal breathing.