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J Laryngol Otol. 2007 Apr;121(4):345-8. Epub 2006 Dec 7.

Prevalence of facial pain in 108 consecutive patients with paranasal mucopurulent discharge at endoscopy.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Queen's Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, UK.


We undertook a prospective observational study of 108 consecutive patients with endoscopic paranasal mucopurulent secretions. Only 31 patients (29 per cent) had facial pain. In 20 (65 per cent), the endoscopic site of purulent secretions corresponded to the site of pain. In those with facial pain, 74 per cent had nasal obstruction, 68 per cent had objective hyposmia and 84 per cent had mucopurulent rhinorrhoea. In the 31 patients with facial pain, 19 (61 per cent) became symptom free following medical treatment. The remaining 12 patients underwent surgery and their symptoms resolved, except for one patient with a tension-type headache and another with pain of unknown cause. Most patients with purulent secretions from the paranasal sinuses do not have facial pain; therefore, chronic rhinosinusitis is not synonymous with pain. Patients with sinogenic facial pain usually have endoscopic findings that correlate with the site of pain, and the majority also have other nasal symptoms. Chronic infective rhinosinusitis usually responds to medical therapy, and the remainder resolve with surgery.

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