Subjective and objective parameters in the evaluation of radiofrequency ablation of the inferior turbinate do not correlate: A pilot study | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Subjective and objective parameters in the evaluation of radiofrequency ablation of the inferior turbinate do not correlate: A pilot study

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August 21, 2016
by Peter Valentin Tomazic, MD; Claus Gerstenberger, MSc; Bettina Rant, MD; Ulrike Nemetz, MD; Christiana Brezjak-Kahlert, MD; Axel Wolf, MD; Kurt Freudenschuss, MD; Gerald Wolf, MD

Abstract

Inferior turbinate hypertrophy is a common cause of nasal obstruction. We conducted a prospective study to correlate subjective and objective parameters in assessing the effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Our initial study population was made up of 10 patients who presented with nasal obstruction; 1 patient was lost to follow-up, leaving us with 7 women and 2 men, aged 26 to 65 years (mean: 37.9 ± 12.8), and 16 turbinates (7 bilateral, 1 right, and 1 left). Visual analogue scale (VAS) scores, Nasal Obstruction and Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) questionnaire scores, rhinomanometry results, and CT- and MRI-based volumetry were obtained before RFA and 6 months afterward. For the subjective parameters, the mean pre- and postoperative VAS scores for the 16 turbinates were 6.6 ± 1.6 and 2.8 ± 2.0 (p < 0.001), respectively, and the mean pre- and postoperative NOSE scores in the 9 patients were 15.3 ± 3.1 and 5.8 ± 5.4 (p = 0.003). For the objective parameters, the mean pre- and postoperative rhinomanometry values at 150 Pa were 241.0 ± 141.3 and 265.4 ± 157.3 ml/sec (p = 0.403), and the mean pre- and postoperative volumetry values were 5.3 ± 2.5 and 5.0 ± 2.1 cm3 (p = 0.551). Note that only the differences in the subjective parameters reached statistical significance. RFA of the inferior turbinates as a treatment for nasal obstruction is safe and easy. However, our study found a discrepancy between the subjective and objective outcomes parameters, as the former showed highly significant improvement and the latter showed only a slight improvement that did not reach statistical significance.

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