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Laryngoscope. 2004 Dec;114(12):2224-7.

A comparative study of three methods of nasal irrigation.

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Department of Surgery-Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, University of Adelaide, Woodville South 5011, South Australia, Australia.



To assess the effectiveness of three methods of nasal irrigation on distributing saline to the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses.


: A prospective, cross-over study.


Twelve subjects (9 patients with chronic sinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery and 3 healthy controls) underwent nasal irrigation with normal saline containing Technetium 99m sulfur colloid. The distribution of radioactivity was assessed on each subject after three different irrigation techniques: metered nasal spray, nebulization with RinoFlow, and nasal douching while kneeling with the head on the floor.


The nasal cavity was well irrigated by all three techniques. Compared with the other two methods, douching was significantly more effective in penetrating the maxillary sinus (P = .036) and frontal recess (P = .003). The sphenoid and frontal sinuses were poorly irrigated by all three techniques.


Nasal douches are more effective in distributing irrigation solution to the maxillary sinus and frontal recess. This should be the method of choice for irrigating these areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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