Current concepts in topical therapy for chronic sinonasal disease

Richard J. Harvey, Alkis Psaltis, Rodney J. Schlosser, Ian J. Witterick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: There has been an explosion in the understanding of the mechanisms of chronic sinonasal inflammation. Multiple approaches to control and modify the inflammatory reaction in chronic rhinosinusitis have led to many new agents being introduced topically to the sinonasal cavities. This article aims to provide an evidence-based approach to the science behind topical management of sinonasal disease. Methods: The literature on delivery device, position, surgical state, and pharmaceutical and mechanical concepts of topical therapy to the paranasal sinuses is reviewed. Results: High-volume irrigation under positive pressure and in head-down positions is important for effective delivery and mechanical action of topical solutions. Unoperated paranasal sinuses appear to receive very limited topical therapy. Enhanced steroid therapy and surfactants appear to be the most promising pharmaceutical approaches. Future novel therapies may include enhancers of the innate immune system. The effect of antibiotic additives is difficult to establish as this might be treating a disease-modifying state rather than the underlying pathology. Conclusions: Topical therapies, applied after surgery, are likely to represent the mainstay of future management for chronic inflammatory rhinosinusitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-231
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic
  • Biofilm
  • Endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Irrigation
  • Sinusitis
  • Steroid
  • Surfactant
  • Topical


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