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Will nasal airway surgery improve my sense of smell? A prospective observational study

Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2022 Nov 22. doi: 10.1002/alr.23115. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The effect of nasal airway surgery on olfaction has not been well established. The goal of this study is to assess changes in olfaction after septoplasty with inferior turbinate reduction through both objective and patient-reported measures.

METHODS: Prospective, observational study of patients with nasal airway obstruction presenting between July 2017 and October 2019 who underwent septoplasty with inferior turbinate reductions. Nasal airflow was characterized with a Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) scale and an 11-point Ease-of-Breathing (EOB) Likert scale and olfaction was assessed with an 11-point Olfactory Likert Scale and a 40 item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT-40), pre- and post-operatively. Pearson correlations were used to assess the relationship between measures of nasal obstruction and olfaction.

RESULTS: Among 80 patients, mean NOSE scores improved from 67.4 preoperatively to 19.6 postoperatively (p<0.001). EOB Likert scores improved from a mean of 3.9/10 to 8.1/10 after surgery (p<0.001). Olfactory Likert scores improved from a baseline of 6.1/10 pre-operatively to 7.9/10 after surgery (p<0.001). No statistically significant difference was noted in UPSIT testing pre and post-operatively. A moderate correlation was noted between degree of change in NOSE scores and improved olfactory Likert scores (r = 0.51, p<0.001) and between the degree of change in EOB Likert scores and improved olfactory Likert scores (r = 0.55, p<.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on our data, subjective tests of olfaction may improve with nasal airway surgery in some patients. Changes in olfaction best correlate with the extent to which surgery can improve subjective nasal obstructive symptoms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:36413461 | DOI:10.1002/alr.23115

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