Nasal packing after septoplasty: A randomized comparison of packing versus no packing in 88 patients

October 31, 2008
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Abstract

The once-common practice of packing the nose after septoplasty was based on a desire to prevent postoperative complications such as bleeding, septal hematoma, and adhesion formation. However, it was since found that not only is nasal packing ineffective in this regard, it can actually cause these complications. Although the consensus in the world literature is that packing should be avoided, to the best of our knowledge, no truly randomized study has been undertaken in Southwest Asia upon which to justify this recommendation here. Therefore, we conducted a prospective randomized comparison of the incidence of a variety of postoperative signs and symptoms in 88 patients, 15 years of age and older, who did (n = 44) and did not (n = 44) undergo nasal packing following septoplasty. We found that the patients who underwent packing experienced significantly more postoperative pain, headache, epiphora, dysphagia, and sleep disturbance on the night of surgery. Oral and nasal examinations 7 days postoperatively revealed no significant difference between the two groups in the incidence of bleeding, septal hematoma, adhesion formation, and local infection. Finally, the packing group reported a moderate to high level of pain during removal of the packing. Our findings confirm that nasal packing after septoplasty is not only unnecessary, it is actually a source of patient discomfort and other signs and symptoms.

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