Ideal treatment for nasal obstruction caused by turbinate hypertrophy remains in question. Medical therapy is often ineffective. Surgical procedures have associated morbidity including pain, bleeding, crusting, adhesion, infection, and dryness. Radiofrequency has recently been shown to be safe and effective in volumetric tissue reduction of the tongue in the animal model and of the palate in human beings. We prospectively evaluate the safety and effectiveness of radiofrequency volumetric tissue reduction (RFVTR) for the treatment of nasal obstruction caused by inferior turbinate hypertrophy.Twenty-two consecutive patients with nasal obstruction and associated inferior turbinate hypertrophy refractory to medical therapy were evaluated for RFVTR. The study design limited the region of treatment to the anterior third of the inferior turbinate. The procedures were performed in an ambulatory facility with patients under local anesthesia. Clinical examinations, patient questionnaires, and visual analog scales were used to assess treatment outcomes.No adverse effects were encountered, including bleeding, crusting, dryness, infection, adhesion, or a worsening of obstruction. Mild edema was noted in all patients but was of short duration (24 to 48 hours). Posttreatment discomfort was well controlled with acetaminophen. Eight weeks after treatment, nasal breathing improved in 21 of 22 patients, with a 58.5% reduction in severity and a 56.5% decrease in the frequency of nasal obstruction.The results of this study demonstrate that RFVTR of the hypertrophic inferior turbinate is associated with minimal adverse effects. Furthermore, this new treatment modality achieves subjective improvement in patients with symptoms of nasal obstruction. However, because of the small sample size and short follow-up, future investigations are needed to fully evaluate the use of RFVTR in the treatment of nasal obstruction caused by turbinate hypertrophy.
View details for PubMedID 9852527