Nasal air-conditioning after partial turbinectomy: myths versus facts

Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015 Mar-Apr;29(2):e59-62. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2015.29.4151.


Background: Turbinectomy, although a common procedure, is often accused of having a negative impact in all nasal functions. This study is the first in vivo study that evaluates objectively the effect of partial turbinectomy on nasal air-conditioning capacity.

Methods: In total, 57 patients with prior partial inferior turbinectomy and 28 healthy controls were examined. Intranasal temperature and humidity values were measured at the level of the head of inferior and middle turbinate. Nasal patency was evaluated by means of acoustic rhinometry. The clinical assessment was completed with nasal endoscopy and the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation questionnaire for subjective evaluation of nasal patency.

Results: Significant changes of temperature were found in both detection sites with 13% reduced heating capacity of the air at the level of the inferior and 19% at the level of the middle turbinate, respectively. No similar results were found for humidity measurements. No correlations were found between air-conditioning values and acoustic rhinometry results for both study groups. Nasal endoscopy revealed normal healing in all patients. No major complications were reported by the patients. Their subjective ratings of nasal obstruction were similar to healthy controls.

Conclusion: Partial turbinectomy seems to have a negative impact on intranasal air heating but not to humidification. This effect has no impact on clinical condition and subjective perception of surgical outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Conditioning
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Cavity / chemistry
  • Nasal Cavity / physiology*
  • Nasal Cavity / surgery
  • Nasal Obstruction / diagnosis*
  • Nasal Obstruction / surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Rhinometry, Acoustic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temperature*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turbinates / chemistry
  • Turbinates / physiology*
  • Turbinates / surgery
  • Young Adult