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Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016 Dec;68(4):424-428. Epub 2015 Sep 25.

Long-Term Outcomes of Radiofrequency Ablation of the Inferior Turbinates.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR USA.
Sleep Surgery Sub-Division, Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, 1 Jarrett White Road, Honolulu, HI 96859 USA.
Sleep Surgery Division, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University Hospital and Clinics, Stanford, CA USA.


Radiofrequency ablation of the inferior turbinates (RFAIT) is a minimally invasive surgical technique that reduces turbinate size and decreases nasal obstruction. Few studies have assessed long-term outcomes of this procedure using standardized, symptom-specific evaluation instruments. The primary aim of this study is to assess the long-term effectiveness of RFAIT using a standardized, symptom-specific evaluation instrument. An additional outcome evaluated is the effect of RFAIT on therapeutic CPAP pressures in centimetres of water pressure (cwp) and overall CPAP use. Patients who had received RFAIT >14 months previously were identified via retrospective chart review and underwent a telephone interview with several questions to include the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) scale. Additionally, data regarding therapeutic pressures for continuous positive pressure devices (CPAP) and CPAP use was obtained for patients using these devices as treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. The average NOSE scale score for the 40 patients who completed the NOSE scale questionnaire in our study was 6.35 ± 3.98 (0-20 scale). Crusting and mild, self-resolving epistaxis were the most common complications in the perioperative period. In general, unforeseen complications occurred in <13 % of patients. The mean therapeutic CPAP pressures reduced from 11.4 ± 2.7 to 10.1 ± 3.2 cwp, p = 0.085. This study supports that radiofrequency ablation of the inferior turbinates has low complication rates, is well-tolerated, may decrease therapeutic CPAP pressures, and provides symptomatic improvement that is sustained >14 months post-procedure.


Continuous positive airway pressure; Nasal obstruction; Radiofrequency ablation; Turbinates; Turbinoplasty

Conflict of interest statement

Compliance with Ethical Standards Conflicts of interest None.

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