Scientists compared the subjective and objective results of two methods for treating nasal obstruction. Septoplasty was found to be a more effective procedure than intranasal steroid spray and saline spray.
Researchers from universities and specialist hospitals in the UK assessed the clinical effectiveness of septoplasty compared with specific drug treatments for nasal airway obstruction. The results of the study were published in the journal BMJ.
We analyzed data from 378 adult patients who first attended one of 17 UK ENT clinics with symptoms of nasal obstruction associated with a deviated nasal septum. All participants had at least moderate nasal obstruction: >30 points on the NOSE scale to assess symptoms of nasal obstruction.
Patients were divided equally into two groups: septum surgery and a specific drug treatment (corticosteroid spray and saline spray for six months). Quality of life was assessed using the SNOT-22 scale: lower scores indicated better scores, and differences of 9 points or more were considered clinically significant. Objective measures of nasal airflow were also compared.
Mean SNOT-22 scores at six months were 19.9 in the septoplasty group and 39.5 in the medical treatment group. That is, the differences between the groups were almost 20 points, which indicated clinically significant better results of septoplasty compared with drug therapy. However, greater improvement was observed among patients with higher initial NOSE scores. Moreover, greater improvements in peak inspiratory nasal airflow and absolute nasal inhalation distribution coefficient were observed in the septoplasty group.
The incidence of complications after surgical treatment was low: 4% of patients were re-hospitalized for epistaxis, and 12% received antibiotic therapy for an infectious complication.