The long-term effects of open cosmetic septorhinoplasty on nasal air flow

M S Constantinides, P A Adamson, P Cole
Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 1996, 122 (1): 41-5

OBJECTIVE: To determine if elective cosmetic septorhinoplasty impacts on nasal air flow resistance over the long-term.

DESIGN: Case series. Mean postoperative follow-up period was 41.5 months (range, 16 to 77 months).

PATIENTS: A consecutive sample of 200 patients having undergone cosmetic open septorhinoplasty by one of us (P.A.A.) before July 1992 were contacted by telephone; 50 agreed to participate, and 27 actually participated in the study.

INTERVENTIONS: Open cosmetic septorhinoplasty performed by one of us (P.A.A.).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Comparison of preoperative and postoperative nasal resistance values by headout body displacement plethysmography; correlation of preoperative and postoperative nasal valve anatomy with nasal resistance values; and correlation of postoperative nasal resistance values with subjective evaluation of nasal air flow as reported on a 10-point analogue scale.

RESULTS: Of the 27 patients, 10 had normal preoperative nasal resistance values and 17 had elevated resistance values. Preoperative Normal Group: Four of the 10 patients' mean resistance values exceeded normal limits postoperatively. One of these four patients reported subjective nasal obstruction. Preoperative Abnormal Group: Of the 17 patients, surgery resulted in normal resistance values postoperatively in six, decreased but still above normal resistance values in eight, and no decrease in postoperative resistance values in three.

CONCLUSIONS: (1) Patients with normal nasal resistance values may suffer long-term, asymptomatic increase in nasal resistance values after cosmetic open septorhinoplasty, often with no quantifiable change at the nasal valve. (2) Patients with elevated nasal resistance measurements generally improve with open septorhinoplasty. Patients with isolated septal deformities improve with septoplasty. Patients with upper lateral cartilage collapse improve with spreader grafts. The lasting objective improvement on the nasal valve using spreader grafts is reported herein for the first time. (3) Subjective estimations of nasal patency do not correlate well with objective measures of patency, namely nasal resistance measurements. (4) Cosmetic septorhinoplasty can alter nasal patency. Continued care must be exercised when manipulating the nasal framework for cosmetic purposes, as slight changes to the nasal valve may result in significant alterations in nasal air flow resistance.

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