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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 1/2018

A comparison of symptoms and quality of life before and after nasal septoplasty and radiofrequency therapy of the inferior turbinate

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2018
Ann Helen Nilsen, Anne-Sofie Helvik, Wenche Moe Thorstensen, Vegard Bugten
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12901-017-0050-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The primary goal of this study is to compare pre- and postoperative symptoms and health related quality of life (HQOL) in 57 patients who underwent septoplasty (group-1), 56 patients who underwent septoplasty combined with radiofrequency therapy of inferior turbinates (RFIT) (group-2) and 58 patients who underwent RFIT alone (group-3). The secondary goal is to investigate if the change in symptoms and HQOL differed between these three patient groups after surgery.


All patients reported symptoms on a visual analogue scale (VAS) and HQOL on Sino-Nasal-Outcome-Test-20 (SNOT-20) and Short-Form-Health-Survey-36 (SF-36) before and 6 months after surgery. The pre- and postoperative scores and improvement were compared within and between the three patient groups.


Preoperatively the three patient groups had a fairly similar symptom burden and HQOL, except for group-1 which reported more symptoms of oral breathing than group-3 (p < 0.01) and group-3 which reported more problems in the ear/facial--subset of SNOT-20 and in the general-mental-health-domain of SF-36 than group-1 (p < 0.01).
Postoperatively all patient groups reported improved symptom scores of nasal obstruction, nasal discharge, snoring, oral breathing and reduced general health (p < 0.01), and better HQOL (p < 0.05). Patients in group-2 had less symptoms of nasal obstruction than group-3 (p < 0.05). Postoperative symptom score for nasal obstruction was 29.1 (SD67.6) in group-1, 27.5 (SD22.5) in group-2 and 37.2 (SD24.8) in group-3. Revision cases reported more nasal obstruction postoperatively; 41.3 (SD27) than non revision cases; 28.6 (SD24) (p < 0.01).
The HQOL after surgery was about the same in all three patient groups, but we found that patients with comorbidities as sleep apnea and asthma reported worse HQOL than other patients (p < 0.01).


Surgical treatment of nasal obstruction led to less symptoms and better HQOL for all three patient groups. Comparing the postoperative scores between the patient groups we find that all groups reached the same level of HQOL. Regarding symptoms, the patients who underwent septoplasty combined with RFIT reported postoperatively less nasal obstruction than patients who underwent RFIT alone which may indicate that a combined procedure of septoplasty and RFIT is better than RFIT alone to treat nasal obstruction. Furthermore, revision cases, patients with sleep apnea and asthma patients seem to have poorer outcome after surgery than other patients. Both disease specific and general QOL instruments add valuable information for identifying factors influencing outcome.
Additional file 1: Spreadsheet that include information from the patients about symptoms given on VASs and HQOL given on SNOT-20 and SF-36. (XLS 306 kb)
Additional file 2: Response letter. (DOCX 18 kb)
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