Radiofrequency Treatment of Nasal Turbinates


A frequent cause of nasal airway obstruction is excessive tissue in the inferior turbinate. The size of the turbinate can be reduced by radiofrequency to improve nasal breathing.  A significant advantage of radiofrequency treatment is its precision in targeting tissue. The treated tissue remains within 60-90 degrees Celsius, so heat dissipation to the surrounding tissues is limited, thus minimizing excessive tissue injury and complications.

The procedure is performed in the office surgery center under local anesthesia.  Local anesthetic is first injected into the tissue. The probe is then inserted into the target tissue to transmit the radiofrequency energy. Minimal discomfort is generally experienced during the application of this procedure.

There is no restriction in activity after treatment, but expect to experience nasal stuffiness for three to five days.  During the healing process of one to three weeks, scar tissue forms, causing the tissue to shrink to increase the airway space.



Li KK, Powell NB, Riley RW, Troell RJ, Guilleminault C.  Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction for Treatment of Turbinate Hypertrophy – A Pilot Study.  Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery; 119(6) 569-573, 1998.

Li KK, Guilleminault C.  Adenotonsillectomy in Sleep-disordered Breathing-What is the Evidence and What are the Implications for Clinical Practice.   In: Guilleminault C, editor.  International News on Sleep & its Optimized Management.  2006.  (In press)

Li KK.  Pediatric Sleep Apnea-Current Concept in Management.  Sleep Review, 2006.

Guilleminault C, Li KK, Khramtsov A, Pelayo R, Martinez S.  Sleep Disordered Breathing in Prepubertal Children: Surgical Outcomes.  Laryngoscope; 114:132-137, 2004.

Guilleminault C, Li KK, Quo S, Inouye R.  A Prospective Study on the Surgical Outcomes of Children with Sleep Disordered Breathing.  Sleep; 27:95-100, 2004.