Background: Topical saline is commonly recommended after endoscopic sinus surgery. The efficacy in this situation has never been shown.
Methods: We performed a controlled clinical trial to determine the effect of saline sprays on symptoms after endoscopic sinus surgery. Patients were randomized to receive normal saline (NS; n = 20), buffered hypertonic saline (HS; n = 20), or no spray (n = 20). A questionnaire measured symptoms of nasal obstruction, discharge, pain, headache, and trouble sleeping. Daily pain medication usage was recorded.
Results: Symptom scores over the first 5 postoperative days showed higher nasal discharge scores in the HS group. Day-by-day comparisons showed that the HS group reported significantly higher pain scores during some postoperative days. The NS group showed similar scores to control.
Conclusion: NS and HS sprays do not have a beneficial effect on symptoms compared with no treatment. HS sprays enhanced nasal drainage and pain. Our results do not support prescribing saline sprays early after sinus surgery but do not exclude the use of topical saline in other forms or for other uses, although they may be used for other intentions.