What is Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS)

ct scans of turbinectory, turbinate reduction surgery, inferior turbinate, middle turbinate, full turbinate,Audio of Dr. Kern’s 30 minute presentation about Empty Nose Syndrome at a nose conference. (Download/Click Here)

Empty nose syndrome (ENS), also known in research as “the wide nasal cavity syndrome”, is a medical term used to describe a nose crippled by over resection of the inferior and/or middle turbinates of the nose.

Empty nose syndrome is a iatrogenic condition that can and should be completely avoided, except for the rare cases of cancerous tumors in the nasal cavity, in which radical resection of nasal structures may be mandatory.

Over resection of the inferior or middle turbinates leaves the nose in a chronic state of dryness (lack of mucus/moisture production) and incapable of streamlining, sensing (motion and temperature wise) and processing the inhaled air in a satisfactory manner.

The main symptoms are – chronic dryness of the nose and pharynx, shortness of breath, upsetting nasal sensations switching between over openness or congestion of the remaining mucosa, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating and a generally depressed and irritated mood.

The patients feel confusing sensations of too much air entering their nose and pharynx, yet at the same time they feel that they need more nasal resistance to breathe-in satisfactorily. Patients may report that their nose feels unresponsive, too empty and at the same time stuffy, or that although they can sense plenty of air passing through their noses towards their lungs, they feel as if they can’t catch their breath and as if their lungs are constantly starved for air. Paradoxically their shortness of breath improves when their nasal mucosa becomes swollen and their nasal resistance increases, like when their nose becomes infected or after drinking a lot of alcohol.

ENS is a physically, cognitively and emotionally debilitating condition as good nasal functions are crucial for proper lung functions and breathing, cognitive functions, and sense of well-being.