When should I see a doctor?
Sometimes the cause of a cold is a bacterial infection, like strep throat. Conditions like strep throat can last longer than a virus, and can migrate to infect the sinuses as well. However, bacterial infections often respond to antibiotics. If your symptoms are severe and seem to be lasting longer than usual, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to determine the best course of action that will return you to good health.
If your congestion is persistent but not caused by a seasonal allergy or a head cold, you might be suffering from a problem deeper in the airway that’s causing more prolonged symptoms.
Contact your doctor if:
What will my doctor do?
The doctor will conduct a thorough examination that will most likely include a look in your nose and throat to see if there’s a physical blockage or signs of inflamed tissue. The doctor may take a swab sample to collect a culture from your nose to determine if you have a viral infection. If the infection is caused by bacteria, your doctor will likely prescribe a round of antibiotics to help fight it and shorten your recovery.
Facts about COBLATION◊ technology Turbinate Reduction Procedure
What is a COBLATION◊ Technology?
‘Co-‘ stands for ‘controlled’ and ‘-blation’ is derived from the word ‘ablation,’ which is the process of reducing the size of something. When the sun melts an iceberg, the process is called ‘ablation.’ COBLATION◊ technology combines radiofrequency energy and saline to create a plasma field. The plasma field remains at a relatively low temperature as it precisely ablates targeted turbinate tissue. The COBLATION plasma field removes target tissue, while minimizing damage to surrounding areas.¹
What is COBLATION◊ Technology Turbinate Reduction?
A COBLATION◊ technology turbinate reduction is the use of a COBLATION wand to reduce the size of enlarged nasal turbinates.
Why Was COBLATION◊ Technology Turbinate Reduction Developed?
Surgeons and patients alike have wanted a better way to reduce the size of swollen nasal turbinates. With the turbinates located in the nasal passages, the process of removing them with manual or mechanical instruments can cause excessive bleeding and longer healing times.¹ COBLATION◊ technology offers an alternative with built-in hemostasis, or the process to stop bleeding.²
COBLATION◊ technology precisely removes tissue by dissolving turbinate tissue at the molecular level.³
COBLATION◊ technology combines low-temperature radiofrequency energy with saline to create a plasma field. This plasma field is contained at the tip of the device and dissolves tissues molecule by molecule, which results in a precise dissection of targeted tissue. The COBLATION process both ablates tissue immediately, and allows the tissue to continue to postoperatively retract.³
Have you been to see an ENT doctor about nasal congestion, and received a diagnosis of swollen (also known as hypertrophic) nasal turbinates? Is the doctor recommending a turbinate reduction procedure? Is the doctor recommending a turbinate reduction along with additional procedures? One of the most advanced surgical approaches, COBLATION◊ technology turbinate reduction, may be needed in addition to other sinus procedures. If you’re in a hospital or surgery center, the procedure will most likely need to be performed under general anesthesia.
Turbinate Reduction Using COBLATION◊ Technology
COBLATION◊ technology combines low-temperature radiofrequency energy with saline to create a plasma field, which is contained at the tip of the device by dissolving tissues at the molecular level, the device is able to precisely dissect targeted tissue.³ Using a COBALTION wand, the doctor will insert the wand into the turbinate, the plasma energy will dissolve some of the turbinate tissue. Once the healing process occurs, the turbinate will be reduced allowing for improved airflow through the nose.1ª
See more information on COBLATION◊ technology here. Learn more →
Preparing for the Procedure
If your doctor recommends a septoplasty in addition to a turbinate reduction, surgery under general anesthesia may be required. With a surgery, you may need to stop eating and drinking, the night before the procedure. You may also be asked to provide pertinent details about your medical history, which helps to establish if you need blood work or other tests before the procedure.
Day of Procedure
If surgery is required, the staff will check your weight, blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs upon your arrival to the hospital or surgery center. Oftentimes you’ll be asked to remove contact lenses, glasses, jewelry, dentures, or hearing aids before going into the operating room. If your procedure requires general anesthesia, you’ll receive that by injection or inhalation. And once you’re fully unconscious, the procedure will begin.
When the procedure is complete, you’ll be moved by staff to a recovery area. Your vital signs will be verified, and you’ll be observed for any complications while the anesthetic agent wears off. For more information on Post-procedure Recovery, Click here.
1ª Stanford Healthcare. Turbinate Reduction. Accessed August 21, 2019.
Have you been to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor about nasal congestion, and received a diagnosis of swollen (also known as hypertrophic) nasal turbinates? If the doctor is recommending a turbinate reduction procedure, COBLATION◊ technology turbinate reduction is one of the most advanced surgical approaches. The procedure can be performed in the operating room or at a doctor’s office. In office procedures can lead to lower cost, as they don’t require a hospital stay. The procedure in-office will be done under a local anesthetic and you will be awake for the duration of the procedure.1ª
Turbinate Reduction Using COBLATION◊ Technology
COBLATION◊ technology combines low-temperature radiofrequency energy with saline to create a plasma field that is contained at the tip of the device. By dissolving tissues at the molecular level, the device is able to precisely dissect the targeted tissue.³ Using a COBALTION wand, the doctor will insert the wand into the turbinate, the plasma energy will dissolve some of the turbinate tissue. Once the healing process occurs, the turbinate will be reduced allowing for improved airflow through the nose.1 Learn more →
Preparing for the Procedure
You should expect to receive detailed instructions from your doctor’s staff several days in advance of your turbinate reduction procedure. If the procedure is being performed in the doctor’s office, little preparation will be required. You may be asked to provide pertinent details of your medical history, which helps to establish if you need a blood workup or other tests before the procedure.
Day of Procedure
With the procedure being performed at a doctor’s office, you will be awake for the duration of the procedure, but a local anesthetic will ensure that you won’t feel any pain.
When the procedure is complete, you’ll be moved by staff to a recovery area. Your vital signs will be verified, and you’ll observed for any complications while the anesthetic agent wears off. For more information on Post-procedure Recovery, visit this page.
1ª Stanford Healthcare. Turbinate Reduction. Accessed August 21, 2019.
Turbinate Reduction: What to Expect
Recovering from a Turbinate Reduction Procedure
Following turbinate reduction surgery, you can expect to make a full recovery. However, you might experience discomfort, nasal stuffiness, and mild nasal drainage in the first few days following the procedure.
Here’s what to expect:
Recovering Room and Discharge for Surgery Center
After turbinate reduction that requires general anesthesia, you’ll be monitored in a recovery area of the hospital or surgery center until the anesthetic agent wears off. When it’s time to go home, a staff member or your doctor will go over specific instructions on how to take care of yourself until you’re fully recovered. Be sure that you receive a copy of your instructions in writing to make sure you follow each step of your recovery plan.
Since you may have swelling for a few weeks after surgery, your nose will still feel congested. Additionally, you may experience some postoperative bleeding. If the procedure was conducted under general anesthesia, nausea or vomiting after surgery are to be expected. If you experience these issues, be sure to eat light, bland foods and drink clear liquids. After surgery, the lingering effects of anesthesia and pain medicine could cause dizziness or drowsiness.
Medications You May Receive
You might receive a prescription for pain medication for any postoperative discomfort you feel. All pain medications must be taken as your doctor instructs. There may be additional medicine prescribed, like antibiotics to help fight any postoperative infection. To assist in the healing process, your doctor may also recommend a saline spray and/or saline rinse be used to ensure your nose remains moist.
Special Instructions and Restrictions
Discomfort, tenderness, and some residual stuffiness in the nasal passages is not uncommon following surgery. You may receive advice to not blow your nose or to avoid vigorous exercise in the first few days after the procedure.
Complications and When to Report Them to the Doctor
Your doctor may encourage you to report complications like persistent or new bleeding at the surgical site. Contact your doctor if you experience high fever, dizziness, or unanticipated nasal discharge.
The doctor will instruct you on whether to make a follow-up appointment. You may need to return within 10 days to two weeks to ensure that the procedure is complication-free and that recovery is proceeding as expected.
Methods to Treat at Home
Tips to manage allergy symptoms at home:
- Get allergy tested to know what allergens affect you.
- Wear a mask indoors or outdoors. 1
- Wash hands after coming into contact with pets.
- Keep your home clean to prevent dust mites and other allergens from being in the air.
- Consult an allergist to determine if you’re a good candidate for allergy shots. 1
Home treatment options for sinusitis:
- OTC nasal sprays, saline sprays or Neti pots can help drain the sinuses.2
- Some doctors may prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections caused by bacteria.
- Consult with your doctor to talk about other available options.
Methods to Treat Chronic Nasal Congestion at Home
What are some remedies for persistent to chronic nasal congestion not associated with a cold or flu? If your congestion doesn’t respond to home remedies, make sure to discuss your condition with your doctor. Failing to do so may lead to your condition becoming worse. Here are some of your options for treatment at home.
Maintaining ideal humidity levels 3
The swelling of nasal, adjacent tissues, and blood vessels due to excessive fluids leads to stuffy nose, also known as nasal congestion. This congestion can lead to sinus pain and sinusitis as the mucus doesn’t drain properly from your sinuses. Dry surroundings make nasal congestion symptoms worse. Dry air makes your mucus thicker, which makes it harder to drain.4
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. The amount of humidity varies depending on the season, weather, and where you live. Generally, humidity levels are higher in the summer and lower in the winter months. Ideally, humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%. Humidity that’s too low or too high can cause problems.
Causes dry skin, irritate your nasal passages and throat, and make your eyes itchy.
Causes your home to feel stuffy and can cause condensation on walls, floors, and other surfaces that triggers the growth of harmful bacteria, dust mites, and molds. These allergens can cause respiratory problems and trigger allergy and asthma flare-ups.
Humidifiers provide more moisture and humidity to the nose. As a result, humidifiers make mucus drain faster from the nose and sinuses. You’ll find there are different types of humidifiers, including:3
Central humidifiers that are built into home heating and air conditioning systems to humidify the whole house.
Impeller humidifiers that produce a cool mist with a rotating disk.
Steam vaporizers that use electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine. Avoid this type of humidifier if you have children because the hot water inside this type of humidifier may cause burns if spilled.
Ultrasonic humidifiers that produce a cool mist with ultrasonic vibration.
Evaporators that use a fan to blow air through a wet wick, filter, or belt.
Aim to keep your humidifier clean at all times. A dirty humidifier reservoir can act as a breeding ground for mold, bacteria, and other allergy causing agents.
Nasal Irrigation is the term for rinsing out the nasal passages, which is typically done with a saline solution. Sinus rinsing is meant to remove dust, pollen, or debris from the nasal passages, and to loosen and wash away thick mucus. This remedy can also help relieve the discomfort of sinus infections, allergies, and colds.
Do not use tap water from your home. Tap water may contain possible irritants. Only use sterile saline solutions, which are available at pharmacies and medical supply stores. You can also make your own sterile saline solution at home. You can use distilled water or boil and cool tap water, and then mix it with table salt and baking soda to create your own sterile saline solution.
These are popular approaches to nasal irrigation:
Squeeze devices that emit a fine mist are useful for applying moisture to dry-feeling areas, but are not as effective for flushing the nasal airway.
This technique uses a pump to deliver a pulsing stream of saline solution to the nasal passages. One early proponent of pulsatile irrigation asserts that the combination of warm saline solution and the frequency of the gently pulsing stream can stimulate the cilia (tiny hair-like strands) to improve natural movement of mucus out of the nasal passages and down the throat.
Water, tea and clear soups can help keep you hydrated and loosen mucus.
This is a small teapot-shaped vessel with a long spout. It’s best to do this method over a sink or bathtub. After filling with sterile saline solution, insert the spout in one nostril. Then tilt your head to pour the liquid into the nostril. You’ll direct the solution up one nostril, through the upper nasal passage, and drain it out through the other nostril.
Tips for Fighting Nasal Irritation
Dehydration and symptoms like congestion can worsen with the consumption of alcohol.
Proper rest helps you combat infection, especially if you have a fever.
By gargling warm salt water a few times a day, you can help relieve sore throat and loosen mucus.
Smoking can aggravate the congestion, cough and other symptoms. So it’s best to even avoid secondhand smoke.
For many patients, medicine can help reduce the size of the turbinates and can help improve their nasal obstruction. Here are some of the common treatments
- OTC Decongestants
- OTC Allergy Medication
- Prescription Pseudo-ephedrines and Nasal Steroids
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, be sure to complete the course of all prescribed medication for bacterial infection or antiviral medicine for the flu.
There are no cures for allergies, but OTC medications can be used to relieve symptoms like runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. The medications used to relieve these symptoms are known as antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, combination drugs and others. 5
1 WebMD. 12 Natural Ways to Defeat Allergies. Reviewed February 1, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019.
2 American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Sinus Infection. Accessed August 21, 2019.
3 Mayo Clinic. Humidifiers: Air moisture eases skin, breathing symptoms. May 10, 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019.
4 Chris Iliades, MD. Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH. The Right Way to Use a Humidifier for Sinusitis. Updated March 22, 2010. Accessed August 21, 2019.
5 Jim Morelli, MS, RPh, Omudhome Ogbru, ParmD. Allergy Drugs: Prescription and OTC. Accessed August 21, 2019.
¹ Khong GC, Lazarova L, Bartolo A, et al. Introducing the new Coblation Turbinator turbinate reduction wand: Our initial experience of twenty-two patients requiring surgery for nasal obstruction. Clin Otolaryngol.2018;43:382-385.
² Leong, S.C., et al., “COBLATION inferior turbinate reduction: a long-term follow-up with subjective and objective assessment,” Rhinology, Vol 48 No 1:108-12 March, 2010.
³ Woloszko, J., Kwende M., Stalder K.R., “COBLATION in otolaryngology,” Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng., Vol 4949:341-352 June, 2003.