Dry Nasal Passages - Causes and Treatment Options

Question: I am from the area in Connecticut. I had submucous resection of my inferior turbinates in ’12, as a 27 year old male. Only tissue removed, no bone, anterior to posterior. Since, air flows too quickly, I have dry nasal passages and my nose crusts and bleeds like crazy. It has been the worst decision of my life.

I’m wondering if you gentlemen have seen folks like me, and if you have any experience in implant procedures (alloderm, acell) or PRP application, or if you are interested in exploring regenerative techniques to help those of us with this difficult problem. Many ENTs I have seen post surgery have turned me away.

Answer: I wish I could offer a cure for your problem.   We know, that the nose is a filter- and by the time air reaches the back of the nose, the air should be 100% humid and 98.6 degrees.  A crucial part of this function is due to the inferior turbinates.  These are structures on the side wall of the nasal cavities.  At times, though, they can become enlarged and block the airway.   When we want to shrink down these structures, we now know that it is important to keep their mucous membrane (outer surface) intact, and just reduce the inside tissue.

If the mucous membranes are lost- either through surgery, infection, or trauma- it is hard to replace effectively.  One name for this is the “empty nose syndrome” which manifests as dry nasal passages.

We usually find that moisturizing the nasal cavities with topical ointments at the tip and saline drops- and sometimes a nasal atomizer (mist)- helps the vast majority.

I have not seen any surgical procedure really help-  although many have been tried and reported- and we’d be happy to review your options with you personally at the NY Sinus Center.

I hope this clears things up.

Robert Pincus MD

Associate Professor Otolaryngology

Co-Director, NY Sinus Center