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Septectomy and septal dermoplasty for the treatment of severe transfusion-dependent epistaxis in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia and septal perforation.

BACKGROUND: Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by abnormal angiogenesis with resultant telangiectasia formation in mucocutaneous tissues, visceral organs, and the central nervous system. The most common manifestation of HHT is epistaxis resulting from trauma to thin-walled telangiectasias. Many patients with HHT experience worsened epistaxis due to the presence of a septal perforation. Septal perforation in HHT patients results from aggressive noncartilage sparing treatments such as monopolar cauterization. Although the mainstay of treatment for patients with severe transfusion-dependent HHT remains to be septal dermoplasty (SD), patients with a septal perforation are less likely to have a successful outcome. In this small subset of patients, septectomy (ST) combined with SD is proposed to eliminate this variable to improve skin graft uptake and therefore outcome. This study reviews the indications, procedure, and outcome of nine patients with severe transfusion-dependent HHT and septal perforation who underwent the combined procedure of SD/ST.

METHODS: Nine HHT patients with severe transfusion-dependent epistaxis and septal perforation underwent SD/ST at our institution over a 5-year period. Quality of life, including number of daily events of epistaxis, and transfusion requirements were determined before and after surgery. Technical aspects of the procedure as well as complications were reviewed.

RESULTS: The combined procedure of SD/ST resulted in a long-lasting subjective improvement in quality of life for all patients. Similarly, transfusion requirements were reduced from 22.61 to 9.57 (p < 0.05). There were no complications or increased morbidity from the procedure.

CONCLUSION: Combined SD/ST is a safe and effective treatment for HHT patients with transfusion-dependent epistaxis and septal perforation.

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