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Med J Malaysia. 2001 Jun;56(2):174-9.

Swiftlase assisted CO2 laser ablation in the treatment of nasal obstruction due to hypertrophy of the inferior turbinates.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, 56000 Kuala Lumpur.


Hypertrophy of the inferior turbinates are the major cause of nasal obstruction. CO2 lasers have been used to reduce the size of the inferior turbinates over the last 20 years. However, the many techniques of delivery of the laser show that there is no one standard method reducing the size of the turbinates. We now describe how the laser can be applied directly to the turbinates using a handpiece with a special nasal tip, thus overcoming the disadvantages delivery via arthroscopic devices, microscopes and fibers. This technique is further enhanced by coupling it with Swiftlase which swirls the focused beam in a 3 mm spot thus ablating tissue more quickly. This procedure is done under local anaesthesia. The ablation of the anterior third of the inferior turbinates effectively overcomes nasal obstruction. This new method was compared to the more traditional submucus diathermy. 22 patients were subjected to laser treatment whilst 20 patients were subjected to diathermy. The outcome was evaluated subjectively by the patients themselves at 2 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. At the end of the study, the laser group reported a more significantly improved nasal airway (91% against 75%) and decreased rhinorrhea (72.7% against 35%) when compared to the diathermy group.

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