The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Radiofrequency tissue reduction for turbinate hypertrophy in June, 2014.


This guidance updates and replaces radiofrequency tissue reduction for turbinate hypertrophy (NICE interventional procedure guidance 36, January 2004).

Inferior turbinates are ridges inside the nose, covered by mucous membrane, which increase the surface area within the nose and help to filter and humidify inspired air. Inflammation of the mucous membrane (rhinitis) can cause inferior turbinates to swell (turbinate hypertrophy). This narrows the nasal passage, and may cause complete nasal obstruction. Symptoms include breathing difficulties, excessive mucous secretion (rhinorrhoea), post-nasal drip, facial discomfort/pain and mid-facial headaches.

Treatment options depend on the duration and severity of turbinate hypertrophy. Medical treatments include corticosteroid injections, nasal corticosteroid sprays and decongestants. Surgical treatments include microdebrider-assisted turbinoplasty and laser-assisted turbinoplasty. These procedures are reserved for patients with persistent symptomatic turbinate hypertrophy that has not responded to medical management, or for patients in whom medical management is contraindicated.

Coding recommendations


SNOMED CT preferred term (concept ID)

Radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction of nasal turbinate (822291000000106)

E04.2 Excision of turbinate of nose NEC

Includes: Reduction of turbinate of nose NEC

Y11.4 Radiofrequency controlled thermal destruction of organ NOC

Diagnosis or health condition

SNOMED CT preferred term (concept ID)

Hypertrophy of nasal turbinates (17467004)

Your responsibility

This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, and specifically any special arrangements relating to the introduction of new interventional procedures. The guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer. 

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties. Providers should ensure that governance structures are in place to review, authorise and monitor the introduction of new devices and procedures.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)