emptynose syndrome 11 year old

On October 30, Halloween Eve, this phrase– emptynose syndrome 11 year old—was among the search engine terms used to find my site. Let’s assume the child is a boy. It may have been the day for Trick or Treating wherever he lives. He should have been excited about his costume and hanging out with his friends. But I imagine those things faded into the background for him. Maybe he didn’t even feel like going out. There’s not much point in being around others who are having fun when you can’t have any yourself.

Contemplating an 11-year-old child out there with Empty Nose Syndrome is very disturbing. Empty Nose Syndrome is not like any other condition. It is not just pain. It is breathlessness and misery. It is not like asthma because there is no inhaler for the breathlessness. There is nothing because the breathlessness is caused by a missing body part rather than a malfunctioning one. The nasal dryness is like a screw slowly turning in your head. I cannot imagine a child living with this condition.

I have seen and read stories about sick and injured children. I’ve seen children on television covered in scars, their ears burned off in fires.  I’ve seen kids with a disease that makes them age so fast they look like 80-year-olds at six. These are kids who won’t get to live a normal life. It’s so tragic it makes you question God. But I’ve never seen a case where a child’s ruined life is a doctor’s fault. And if there is a child with Empty Nose Syndrome, it is a doctor’s fault because Empty Nose Syndrome is an iatrogenic condition. It is entirely caused by ENT’s who surgically remove too much turbinate tissue from the nose.

I have talked a lot on this blog about the foolishness of routine turbinate reductions.  Obviously, I don’t know if this child had long-term breathing issues, chronic infections, maybe even Cystic Fibrosis. There may have been a good rationale for the surgery. Or there may not have been.

If there are children out there with Empty Nose Syndrome, I suspect that some of them are much worse off than before the surgery. I suspect this because I have heard enough to know that the turbinate reduction “business” is out of control. I know of a nineteen-year-old who was given a turbinate reduction that far exceeded medically acceptable  limits. His suffering is light-years worse than before the surgery.  He is one of half a dozen or more teenagers who have passed through the Empty Nose Syndrome Association forum: http://www.emptynosesyndrome.org/.  I have talked to many people who suffered minor issues before being destroyed by turbinate reductions.

Following my turbinate reduction and other unnecessary nasal and sinus surgeries, I confided the intensity of my suffering to one of my friends. A year later, she saw an ENT for a slight breathing problem. It turned out she had a nasal polyp. She told the doctor about what had happened to me, and firmly stated that she did not want her turbinates reduced when the polyp was removed. The ENT replied that he would not cut her turbinates because there was no reason to, and then he cut her turbinates—just enough to get the fee. Her only effect is a drier nose, but that is a negative effect. It is a step backwards for her health. Why do a surgery that can only yield a negative effect when it is not needed?

Elderly people develop dry noses because their turbinates atrophy. Turbinates that have been cut or burned by a surgeon tend to atrophy. Interfering with the turbinates is ONLY a negative intervention, except in cases of intractable nasal or sinus disease. Yet nearly everyone who goes to an ENT and has a polyp removed or a septum straightened is getting a turbinate reduction these days—whether they want it, need it or even know about it. It is a major concern that this recklessness includes children. I know it includes teenagers.

What I don’t know is how the ENT’s who do these surgeries can be so callous. They know about the risk of Empty Nose Syndrome, and yet they needlessly expose hundreds of thousands of people yearly to that risk. Are children being exposed as well?

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~ by ens3 on October 31, 2009.

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