Introduction: Nasal obstruction secondary to pathological enlargement of inferior nasal turbinates contributes to sleep-disordered breathing (SBD) in prepubertal children, but treatments designed to address turbinate enlargement are often not performed. The aims of these studies are: (1) to appreciate the contribution to SDB of untreated enlarged nasal turbinates in prepubertal children; and (2) to report our experience with treatment of enlarged nasal turbinates in young children with SDB.Materials and Methods: Children with enlarged nasal turbinates who underwent adenotonsillectomy (T&A) had significantly less improvement in postoperative apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) compared to those treated with concomitant turbinate reduction. Children in the untreated turbinate hypertrophy group subsequently underwent radiofrequency ablation of the inferior nasal turbinates; following this procedure, AHI was no different than AHI of those without hypertrophy. Results: In an analysis of safety and effectiveness of radiofrequency treatment of the nasal turbinates, we found the procedure to be a well-tolerated component of SDB treatment. Conclusions: We conclude that radiofrequency (RF) treatment of inferior nasal turbinates is a safe and effective treatment in young prepubertal children with SDB. When indicated, it should be included in the treatment plan for prepubertal children with SDB. However, the duration of effectiveness is variable and therapy may need to be repeated if turbinate hypertrophy recurs.
Nasal breathing is critical in infants and children; for example, neonatal choanal atresia often leads to respiratory distress and may require urgent intervention in the newborn nursery. Later, during development in the first years of life, abnormal nasal breathing has important consequences for facial growth.
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