BACKGROUND: Sinonasal function can be affected by multiple treatment modalities but surgical techniques, such as the nasoseptal flap or Draf 3 procedure, have been implicated in poor post-treatment function. Prior studies have rarely used comparable populations and this study aims to assess the impact of surgical technique, mainly the nasoseptal flap, on sinonasal function in a group of comparable patients.
METHODS: A prospective cohort of patients undergoing endoscopic surgery for sinonasal and skull base tumours was studied. Patients were analysed according to whether a nasoseptal flap was used. Other treatment factors included; use of the Draf 3, radiotherapy, removal of olfactory apparatus and dural resection. The Sinonasal Outcome Test 22 (SNOT22), a nasal symptom score (NSS), global function score and nasal obstruction scores were recorded pre and post treatment.
RESULTS: One hundred and eighteen patients were assessed. Forty-two patients had a nasoseptal flap. Perioperative radiotherapy was higher in the nasoseptal group, as was dural resection and the need to remove the olfactory apparatus. Despite this, there was no significant difference in SNOT22 scores and NSS. Radiotherapy was detrimental to sinonasal function with SNOT22 and NSS.
CONCLUSION: The use of a nasospetal flap in surgery does not affect patient quality of life and sinonasal function after endoscopic tumour resection. Pathology is a better predictor of morbidity, with loss of function from radiotherapy or resection of functional areas such as the olfactory apparatus having a greater impact.