Inferior Turbinate Coblation Procedure

What does this procedure do?

The inferior turbinate coblation procedure reduces the size of the soft tissue of a structure in your nose called your inferior turbinate. It is most helpful for patients with nasal blockage that has not responded well to treatment with nasal medications or allergy treatments.

What to expect during the procedure:

  • You will have anesthetic spray and decongestant spray applied to each nostril,
    • there is no general or conscious sedation used; however if you are highly anxious, your doctor may recommend taking some anti-anxiety medication prior to the procedure. Please let us know if you think you will need this.
  • Two cotton pledgets (which have been soaked in anesthetic and decongestant medication) will be placed in each nostril. This may cause you to feel numbness in your throat, teeth, and lips.
  • The physician will then remove the pledgets and will inject the turbinates with several small doses of anesthetic, similar to a minor dental procedure. This is probably the most uncomfortable part of the procedure.
  • After the anesthetic has fully taken effect, the coblation device, which is connected to a radiofrequency generator, is placed into the nose. A small electrode at the end of the device is inserted into the turbinate. Radiofrequency is applied to the turbinate tissue through the electrode. This is usually performed 2-3 times on each turbinate. Before initiating full treatment of the turbinate, your doctor will make sure you are numb. If you experience discomfort when the coblation is being performed, please let us know so we can increase the level of anesthesia
  • After the coblation is performed, the physician will use a tool to move the bony part of the turbinates to give you more space in your nose.  You may here some crackling and transient discomfort at this time.






Informational videos: 

Animation video

The Doctors tv show explaining turbinate coblation

Coblation Procedure


Potential Risks/Complications:

  • Nasal bleeding
  • Need to repeat procedure for insufficient relief (about 10-15% of the time)
  • Failure to resolve or eliminate nasal congestion or other nasal symptoms like post nasal drip, facial pressure/pain
  • Chronic nasal dryness (very rare)

After the Procedure:

  • Your physician will instruct you on saline irrigation and nasal saline sprays (see below)
  • Increased nasal stuffiness/congestion is common after the procedure  and will gradually improve over the next 3-4 weeks
    • This is expected to be worse immediately following the procedure secondary to swelling of the tissues. Time is needed to heal and allow scar formation with subsequent shrinkage of the turbinates
  • You may have a small amount of bleeding, which will also gradually improve

Please call the office if you notice: 

  • Increased bleeding, unrelieved by applying direct pressure (pinching your nose) for 20 minutes in an upright seated position
  • Fever >101.0 despite using Tylenol and ibuprofen
  • Persistant sharp pain or headache, which is nor relieved with pain meds
  • Increased swelling or redness of nose or eyes

Saline Rinses and Sprays:

This helps to keep the nose moist and to help prevent crusting and debris formation and to promote healing.

  • Use saline irrigation once to twice daily (please see saline irrigation form for further instructions)
  • Use nasal saline sprays several times a day
    • Saline sprays can be found over the counter at any pharmacy
  • You will be given the coblation “wand” to keep at home. If you need to have another coblation procedure, we will have you bring your wand back in at that time.
  • Follow up in the office 2 weeks after the coblation procedure