Radiofrequency turbinate reduction (RFTR)

The most common reason for nasal obstruction is mucosal hypertrophy of the inferior turbinate, followed by structural deformity of the nasal airway (septal deviation, bony inferior turbinate hypertrophy). Numerous interventions are available for the treatment of nasal obstruction secondary to inferior turbinate hypertrophy including medical treatments (immunotherapy, antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroid sprays, decongestants) and surgical options (corticosteroid turbinate injections, cryosurgery, electrocautery, turbinate out-fracture, microdebrider-assisted turbinoplasty, excision and submucous resection). The goals of inferior turbinate surgery include volume reduction, a reduction in nasal obstruction, and maintenance of nasal function while minimizing complications. There is currently no consensus on the most effective technique.

Radiofrequency turbinate reduction (RFTR) is a minimally invasive surgical option that can reduce tissue volume in a precise, targeted manner. This technique uses radiofrequency to create lesions within the submucosal tissue of the turbinate, reducing tissue volume with minimal impact on surrounding tissues. Radiofrequency turbinate reduction differs fundamentally from traditional methods by using low-power radiofrequency energy to provide a relatively quick and painless procedure for tissue coagulation. The procedure can be performed in the clinic under local anesthesia. Nasal preparation is done by placing co-phenylcaine patties against the inferior turbinates for about 10 minutes. Following that the inferior turbinates are infiltrated with 2% lidocaine and 1:80000 epinephrines. The radiofrequency probe is then used submucosally and the radiofrequency delivered at pre-set settings. The entire procedure does not take more than a couple of minutes. It is not uncommon to experience palpitations due to anxiety and the anesthetic infiltration but generally the procedure is well tolerated. No specific post-operative care is necessary. Some analgesics for pain and nasal douching are advised. It may take up to 3-4 weeks to feel any improvement in your symptoms.


Below is a video clip of the procedure being done in the clinic using local anaesthesia. The entire procedure does not take more than 4-5 minutes. There is no downtime. You may go back to work after the procedure if you wish to.