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Cautery of Inferior Turbinates (CIT)


What is Cautery of the Inferior Turbinates (CIT)?

The turbinates are cushion-like shelves that protrude into the nasal cavity.

The turbinates increase the surface area of the inside of the nose and boost its ‘air conditioning’ and air-filtering functions.

They can become swollen and cause a blockage of the nasal passages.

CIT involves making an incision or burning the turbinates to make them scar and shrink. This will increase the airflow through the nose.

How long will it take?

The operation takes 30 minutes to an hour. This includes the anaesthetic, operation and time spent in recovery room.

Usually it is a one to two hour stay in hospital following the procedure. This is to monitor your child for any signs of bleeding. An  will be left in until your child goes home.

Diet and fluids

If your child is awake on return to the Day Unit they can have clear fluids immediately. A light diet will be offered when fully awake.

Pain relief

  • Have a supply of paracetamol at home. It can be given as per the instructions on the packaging for the first three to five days after the operation to relieve pain or discomfort.
  • Give other pain relief medicine only if advised.
  • Do not give aspirin or nurofen (ibuprofen) two weeks before or after the operation. Please contact your surgeon or anaesthetist if your child is prescribed aspirin as a regular medication (e.g. for Kawasaki’s Disease, Rheumatic Fever or a platelet disorder).

What to expect

Bleeding may occur during the first few weeks after surgery and is usually minor. If there is any excessive bleeding at home, it is very important that you call 000 or go to your closest hospital that treats children.

There may be some pinkish or yellow discharge and crusting for up to two weeks after the surgery. This can be very annoying for children.

A small amount of Vaseline gently applied to each nostril for a few days may be helpful. The surgeon may provide you with some ointment to apply to the nasal passage following surgery. 

Encourage your child not to sniff or blow their nose for at least ten days after the operation.


Please go to your closest hospital that treats children if there is excessive vomiting, pain or persistent high temperatures, or contact your doctor.

Emergency contact

To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.


Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111



Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470009
Last modified 29/4/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 25/10/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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