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Laryngoscope. 1999 May;109(5):683-6.

Radiofrequency energy tissue ablation for the treatment of nasal obstruction secondary to turbinate hypertrophy.

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Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California, USA.



We hypothesized that the success rate of radiofrequency energy (RFe) tissue ablation of the inferior turbinate for nasal obstruction achieved by previous investigators would be improved by using a longer needle electrode and creating two lesions per turbinate.


Ten patients with nasal obstruction secondary to inferior turbinate hypertrophy were prospectively enrolled. A 40-mm needle delivered RFe to two sites in each inferior turbinate. Patients used a visual analog scale (VAS) to grade nasal obstruction preoperatively and at 1 week and 8 weeks after surgery. Preoperative and postoperative digital images of the nasal cavity were graded for obstruction (0% to 100%) in a blinded manner.


All patients (100%) were subjectively improved at 8 weeks. Mean obstruction (VAS) improved from 50%+/-21% to 16%+/-15% (right side) and from 53%+/-29% to 13%+/-13% (left side). Mean improvements were 68% (right side) (P = .004) and 75% (left side) (P = .001). Mean obstruction graded during blinded review of nasal cavity images improved from 73.5%+/-8% to 51%+/-8% (right side) and from 76%+/-6% to 64%+/-7% (left side). Of nine patients using medications for nasal obstruction before treatment, eight (89%) noted no further need for medications at 8 weeks.


The use of RFe for submucosal tissue ablation in the hypertrophied inferior turbinate is an effective modality for reducing symptoms of nasal obstruction. Improved results may occur by using a longer needle and creating two lesions per turbinate. Of patients in this study, 100% reported improvement of nasal obstruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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