Long term results following nasal septal surgery. Focus on patients' satisfaction

Iordanis Konstantinidis, Stefanos Triaridis, Athanasios Triaridis, Konstantinos Karagiannidis, George Kontzoglou
Auris, Nasus, Larynx 2005, 32 (4): 369-74

OBJECTIVE: The patient selection for septoplasty usually relies on clinical judgement alone. It is not clear, if surgeons' selection criteria are able to accurately anticipate patients' long term satisfaction as only a few studies exist on the outcome of nasal septal surgery. In this study, we analyze patients' long term satisfaction following septoplasty based on their subjective opinion.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this prospective study, 67 consecutive patients, who underwent septoplasty during one year in a District General Hospital, were included. We used the fairley nasal symptom questionnaire (FNQ) preoperativeiy and postoperatively and the Glasgow benefit inventory (GBI) postoperatively to assess the outcome. Patients were mailed two questionnaires 2-3 years postoperatively, to evaluate their perception of the procedure's long term results. As a criterion to measure the success of the operation we used the median postoperative FNQ score and patients were divided into two groups, consisting of patients with more and less successful result, respectively.

RESULT: Fifty-one patients responded (76%). Analysis of the outcomes revealed significant improvement of total nasal symptom score (FNQ) postoperatively (from mean score 13.25 to 9.09) with significant benefit in the nasal obstruction, sore throat and the sense of smell but not for headaches. Significant improvement in nasal breathing was recorded mainly from patients with anterior septal deviation. Patients in the below criterion group (49%) had a mean GBI total score of 6.3, reporting no satisfaction after surgery, whereas patients in the above criterion group (51%) had a mean of 23.8, which is also not a satisfactory result. Social and physical components of GBI had no difference between groups having considerably low scores.

CONCLUSION: The principal benefits of septal surgery are related to improvement in nasal symptoms. In this study GBI results did not reflect a significant change in health status from septoplasty even in the above criterion group. The significant percentage of patients who did not report satisfaction in the long term, questions the objectivity of surgeons' criteria regarding nasal septal surgery. It also indicates that positive evaluation by patients of septal surgery outcome tends to be attenuated with time.

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