Q: I am in need of a septoplasty and turbinate reduction for nasal obstruction and snoring. I am considering rhinoplasty at the same time as I have a larger nose which I want to make smaller. Do you perform turbinate reduction with radiofrequency ablation? Do you have an idea how much my insurance may cover due to breathing problems and what part I would have to pay for the rhinoplasty?
A: Contemporary turbinate reduction can be done by a variety of methods, all intended to shrink the size of the turbinates rather than by just cutting them out. Several methods exist including radiofrequency ablation. That is not a technique that I use. I use diathermy or cautery ablation and have done so for years. Whether one method over the other provides a better result is unknown as both approaches cause shrinking of the inferior turbinate by devascularization and some degree of mucosal necrosis.
Insurance almost always covers any form of internal functional nasal airway surgery and their willingness to do so has actually improved over the years unlike many elective medical procedures. Such allowed coverage is determined beforehand through the typical insurance pre-determination process.
Doing rhinoplasty at the same time as nasal airway surgery is obviously common and efficient from a nasal perspective. While insurance does not cover rhinoplasty, there is no question that it does help to lessen the cost of rhinoplasty as opposed to it being done as a stand alone procedure due to time efficiencies and many surgeon’s willingness to accept some reduced cosmetic fee for doing it.
The answer of the cost of rhinoplasty with internal nasal surgery would be based on what type of rhinoplasty is needed (partial vs. full) and what facility the procedure may be performed in. (different facilities have varying fees for operating room use and anesthesia charges) As a result of these variabilities, definitive cost estimates would require knowing what type of rhinoplasty you need and where it would be performed.
Dr. Barry Eppley