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Type and severity of septal deviation are not related with the degree of subjective nasal obstruction

Volume: 54 - Issue: 4

Firstpage: 355 - Lastpage: 360

S. Verhoeven - B. Schmelzer

BACKGROUND: Septoplasty is a frequently performed operation by otolaryngologists to relieve nasal obstruction complaints. When objective measurements tools are not available, preoperative decision-making is based on careful clinical examination. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between type and severity of septal deviation and patient-reported nasal obstruction.
METHODOLOGY: 196 Patients of a general otolaryngology population were included. Patients indicated subjective nasal obstruction experienced during the past 1 month on a Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Patients underwent clinical examination to evaluate type and severity of septal deviation. We compared clinical examination findings with patients VAS.
RESULTS: We did not find a statistical difference of VAS score between the different types and severities of septal deviation. In 33.9% of the cases without septal deviation, there was a corresponding VAS score of 0. In 26,8% of the cases with septal deviation, there was no complaint of nasal obstruction (VAS = 0). In 7,4% of the cases, there was moderate to severe nasal obstruction complaint (VAS over 4) though no septal deviation was found.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that patient-reported nasal obstruction varies greatly among patients with similar type of deviation and similar degree of deviation. Classification of septal deviation into type and severity cannot predict the degree of subjective nasal obstruction. Therefore, the decision to proceed to septoplasty has to be thoughtful, with as much as information, based on the combination of patients history, clinical examination, surgeons experience and cautious interpretation of objective measurement tools.

S. Verhoeven - B. Schmelzer - Type and severity of septal deviation are not related with the degree of subjective nasal obstruction
Rhinology 54-4: 355-360, 2016