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The effect of inferior turbinate surgery on ciliated epithelium: a randomized, blinded study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
Issue number9
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Objectives/Hypothesis: The aim of this study was to evaluate statistically the effects of radiofrequency ablation, diode laser, and microdebrider-assisted inferior turbinoplasty techniques on ciliated epithelium and mucociliary function.
Study Design: Prospective randomized study.
Methods: A total of 66 consecutively randomized adult patients with enlarged inferior turbinates underwent either a radiofrequency ablation, diode laser, or microdebrider-assisted inferior turbinoplasty procedure. Assessments were conducted prior to surgery and 3 months subsequent to the surgery. The effect on ciliated epithelium was evaluated using a score based on the blinded grading of the preoperative and postoperative scanning electron microscopy images of mucosal samples. The effect on mucociliary function, in turn, was evaluated using saccharin transit time measurement.
Results: The score of the number of cilia increased statistically significantly in the radiofrequency ablation (P = .03) and microdebrider-assisted inferior turbinoplasty (P = .04) groups, but not in the diode laser group. The score of the squamous metaplasia increased statistically significantly in the diode laser group (P = .002), but not in the other two groups. There were no significant changes found between the preoperative and postoperative saccharin transit time values in any of the treatment groups.
Conclusions: Radiofrequency ablation and microdebrider-assisted inferior turbinoplasty are more mucosal preserving techniques than the diode laser, which was found to increase the amount of squamous metaplasia at the 3-month follow-up.
The number of cilia seemed to even increase after radiofrequency ablation and microdebrider-assisted inferior turbinoplasty
procedures, but not after diode laser. Nevertheless, the mucociliary transport was equally preserved in all three groups.
Key Words: Inferior turbinate, radiofrequency ablation, diode laser, microdebrider-assisted inferior turbinoplasty, cilia,
mucociliary function, scanning electron microscopy.
Level of Evidence: 1b

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland