Turbinate loss from non-inflammatory sinonasal surgery does not correlate with poor sinonasal function

Eugene H. Wong*, Carolyn A. Orgain, E. Ritter Sansoni, Raquel Alvarado, Jessica Grayson, Larry Kalish, Raymond Sacks, Richard J. Harvey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The impact of turbinate resection on nasal function remains a controversial topic. In surgery for inflammatory sinonasal disease, turbinate resection is often avoided. In contrast, turbinate tissue is routinely sacrificed in endoscopic tumor and skull base surgery to achieve negative margins or gain adequate exposure. Anecdotally, these patients experience good self-reported post-operative nasal function despite extensive turbinate tissue loss. This study investigates the impact of turbinate resection on self-reported sinonasal function following endoscopic tumor or skull base surgery. 

    Study design: Retrospective case series. 

    Setting: Tertiary Australian Hospitals. 

    Subjects and methods: A retrospective review was performed on consecutive post-surgical patients after management for non-inflammatory sinus disease such as tumor resection or endoscopic skull base reconstruction. Outcome variables assessed included a 6-point Likert score for nasal obstruction, a 13-point Likert score for global nasal function and a 5-question sleep score. The degree of turbinate tissue loss (0-4) was determined by the number of inferior or middle turbinate subtotal resections. 

    Regression analysis was performed, accounting for the effect of relevant demographic variables (smoking; asthma; allergic status; gastroesophageal reflux; malignancy; vestibule mucositis) and treatment variables (subtotal septectomy; Draf III; nasal radiotherapy.) 

    Results: 294 patients (age 52.9 ± 17.6 years, 51.0% female) were assessed. Number of turbinates resected was not associated with poorer nasal obstruction score, global nasal function score or sleep score (OR = 1.77[0.93-3.38], OR = 0.60[0.33-1.12], B = 0.56[ -1.58-2.69] respectively). Allergy and Draf3 were found to improve postoperative global nasal function score (OR = 2.07[1.04-4.13], P = 0.04, OR = 3.97[1.08-14.49], P = 0.04, respectively).

    Conclusion: In patients where surgery was performed for non-inflammatory sinus disease, turbinate resection is not correlated with poorer postoperative nasal obstruction, sinonasal function nor sleep quality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102316
    Pages (from-to)1-5
    Number of pages5
    JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Endoscopic
    • Skull base surgery
    • Skull base repair
    • Patient reported outcome measure
    • Turbinectomy
    • Nasal obstruction
    • Paradoxical
    • Inferior turbinate
    • Middle turbinate
    • Nasal function


    Dive into the research topics of 'Turbinate loss from non-inflammatory sinonasal surgery does not correlate with poor sinonasal function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this