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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Aug;266(8):1257-66. doi: 10.1007/s00405-009-0914-y. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Radiofrequency thermal ablation for patients with nasal symptoms: a systematic review of effectiveness and complications.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a relatively new method for the reduction of submucosal tissue. The method has gained increasing popularity in the treatment of snoring, tonsillar hypertrophy, tongue base hypertrophy, and nasal obstruction secondary to non-allergic or allergic rhinitis. We present a systematic literature review of current knowledge on the effectiveness, and complications of nasal radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA) in the treatment of nasal obstruction. We performed a computerized literature search using several databases to select articles dealing with RFA treatment in the field of otorhinolaryngology. Selected articles were independently appraised by at least two of the authors. Thirty-five articles met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-six articles were reports on uncontrolled patient series. Of the nine included randomized controlled trials only one reported a double-blind comparison. Most of the studies reported an improvement in subjective symptoms after treatment and the number of serious side effects was small. However, the only placebo-controlled trial did not show effectiveness. Nasal-RFA appears to be a safe operative procedure and may reduce inferior turbinate submucosal tissue volume in patients having chronic nasal obstruction and who fail to respond to medical treatment. Based on current knowledge, RFA alters the nasal mucosa only slightly and causes only minor discomfort and risk of side effects for the patient. However, most of the published studies on nasal-RFA are observational and have a relatively short follow-up. Consequently, there is an urgent need for well-planned, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trials on nasal-RFA treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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