Loss of Smell After Turbinate Surgery | Laryngology NYC

Question:

Is it normal for an increased amount of nasal mucus and drainage into the back of my throat 2 months after turbinid reduction surgery? I also have no sense of smell in the morning with my ability to smell increasing during the day. Even at it’s best, my ability to smell is greatly diminished.

Thank You

Answer :

Thanks for your question.

Turbinates are tubes on the side of the inside of the nose that help the nose serve its role as a humidifier and filter.   At times these structures can become quite swollen and interfere with breathing.  There are different procedures to shrink them, if other treatment fails, but today one almost never would remove them as their role is essential to the nose doing its job.

Anything that causes congestion in the nose can temporarily limit your ability to smell.
Typically turbinate surgery causes swelling and crusting and dried mucus in the nose- for a short term.
Usually, this lasts a month or two, but can last longer.

We tend to recommend nasal saline rinses, a humidifier in the bedroom at night- (if you are able to clean religiously)- and sometimes a nasal steroid spray (such as flonase/fluticason) for 2-3 months after the procedure to help bring down any swelling.

If your problems persist, please check with your surgeon.

I hope this clears things up.

Robert Pincus MD
Co-director NY Sinus Center