When my patients tell their complaints about nasal obstruction, I observed that they confuse adenoid problems which is common for children with concha problems, which is common for adults. If they have undergone adenoidectomy operation during their childhood, either them or their relatives state that “I also did nasal concha operation” Actually, even though both tissues are anatomically similar, complaints and age of occurrence differ.
For children, adenoid may cause complaints between the ages of 2-10 and the most common complaints are snoring and otitis media (ear inflammation). For adults though, complaints about the concha usually start after 18. These complaints are; nasal obstruction, snoring, runny nose, sleeping with an open mouth, sweating and sleep apnea. If the child states that he/she underwent concha operation before the age of 10, that means he/she also did tonsillectomy operation as well. If the patient did concha operation after 18, this means a surgical intervention to clear the nasal passage that is obstructed by nasal deviation and/or sinusitis and therefore provide better breathing.
Anatomically, adenoid is an immunity system tissue found inside the oropharynx cavity. They show up during childhood as a result of enlarging tonsils which is caused by recurrent illness. They are a part of our immunity system along with the tonsils which we call lymphoid tissue, and lymph glands in our neck. If it grows abnormally large and start to obstruct the nasal respiratory passage, it starts to cause complaints and is usually removed surgically for treatment.
Concha or the turbinate is a respiratory passage tissue which is found inside the nasal cavity. It cleans and humidifies the outside air when we breathe in from our nostrils and makes it suitable for our lungs. Swelling of the concha can happen because of anatomic reasons or allergy, recurrent inflammation, nasal deviation and as a result, can cause nasal obstruction complaints.
When these complaints show up after the age of 18, first step treatment should consist of medication. If no improvement can be observed, then the enlarged concha can be minimized with nasal radiofrequency ablation. If the surgical option is considered, then the entire nasal system components such as sinus, nasal cavity must be added into consideration.