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A turbinectomy and empty nose syndrome

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I have been a smoker for 20 yrs and recently had surgery on my nose one yr ago. My turbinates have been resected about 30 percent and i have lost my smell. their was also quite a bit of cartilegd taken from my septum. i was diagnosed with ens. I am still smoking trying to quit desperately. my question is that if i quit smoking will things improve. Does the damage done to the cilia, even if they are destroyed, can they in time regenerate? Will my nose ever recover. I am suffering everyday with this empy, dry feeling and no smell. I really need help. I irrigate 3 times a day with kosher salt and veg. glycerin. I havent been the same since the surgery.


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replied March 24th, 2010
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A10875


Given the data you reported (partial inferior turbinectomy in 03/08, nasal reconstruction, septum repair, loss of smell, smoker for 20 years, diagnosed with empty nose syndrome) the turbinectomy caused the empty nose syndrome.

Empty nose syndrome occurs after extensive removal of the nasal turbinate. The symptoms include mucosal dryness associated with swelling of the remaining tissue which might lead to paradoxical obstruction (loss of airflow sensation). Dizziness and sometimes even dyspnea might be experienced.
The non-surgical treatment usually includes daily nasal irrigation. Since these patients might also suffer from depression, anti-depressants might be recommended, too.

You might want to visit an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for surgical options. Surgical options include narrowing back the over enlarged nasal cavity. It might be done by bulking up the partially resected turbinates with biological implants or trying to create neo-turbinates. The results are supposed to enable the disturbed airflow. However, the smell is received with nerves in the epithelium which are not likely to regenerate. The outcome of the surgery regarding the smell would depend on whether the turbinectomy was complete or partial. You are advised to consult the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist about this, too.


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