JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

[Extranasopharyngeal angiofibroma of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses]

J P Windfuhr, S Remmert
Laryngo- Rhino- Otologie 2004, 83 (5): 308-16
15143448

BACKGROUND: Angiofibromas commonly arise in the nasopharynx in young male patients. Diagnosis is widely based on radiographic imaging to avoid ill-advised biopsy which may result in brisk bleeding. This study was undertaken to evaluate the incidence, clinical features and complications that may occur during the process of diagnosis and surgical therapy of angiofibromas outside the nasopharynx.

METHODS AND PATIENTS: Case report of a 13-year-old female patient and review of the literature.

RESULTS: Our patient received multi-agent chemotherapy elsewhere due to a misdiagnosed angiofibroma. Computed Tomography (CT) revealed a maxillary tumor which was repeatedly biopsied. Hypervascularity was excluded by arteriography and the lesion removed after lateral rhinotomy. The data of 42 patients were analyzed including our own case. 32 patients were male, 10 female. The majority became symptomatic aged 19 years or younger (71.4 %). The maxilla was most commonly affected (38 %), less frequently the ethmoid, nasal cavity or septum, beside others. In 38 patients, symptoms developed within 12 months or less (average: 8.5 months). Epistaxis, nasal obstruction and facial swelling were reported for most patients. Brisk bleeding occurred in 10 patients during tumor removal and resulted from biopsies in 11 of 20 patients. Angiography detected hypervascularity in 3 of 4 patients. There was no case with lethal outcome.

CONCLUSION: Extranasopharyngeal angiofibromas of the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses should be included in the differential diagnosis of nasal tumors. Compared to nasopharyngeal angiofibromas, more female patients are involved, symptoms develop more quickly but hypervascularity is less common. Signs of questionable hypervascularity in Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) should indicate arteriography prior to surgical procedures. Preoperative embolization of hypervascular lesions during arteriography will reduce the risk of brisk bleeding during biopsy or surgical tumor removal.

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