Topical steroid drops for the treatment of sinus ostia stenosis in the postoperative period

Am J Rhinol. Nov-Dec 2006;20(6):563-7. doi: 10.2500/ajr.2006.20.2904.


Background: Chronic oral steroid use causes significant morbidity, including osteoporosis, immunosuppression, and adrenal insufficiency. Refractory chronic rhinosinusitis patients often take repeated oral steroid courses to treat polypoid disease or sinus ostia stenosis. This study evaluated topical steroid drop efficacy in treating recurrent sinus ostia stenosis in the postoperative period.

Methods: The 5-year single institution experience with topical steroid drop use after endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) was evaluated by retrospective review. Patients were included if they began topical dexamethasone ophthalmic, prednisolone ophthalmic, or ciprofloxacin/ dexamethasone otic intranasally (used off-label) within 3 months after ESS. Outcomes (i.e., ostia patency, oral steroid use, revision surgery, and complications) were assessed for a 6-month period after steroid drop initiation.

Results: Thirty-six patients met inclusion criteria. Forty-four surgeries were performed during the study period; 67 sides were treated postoperatively with topical steroid drops. In 86.6% of cases, steroid drops were used to treat frontal ostium stenosis or frontal recess edema; 93.2% of surgeries were revision procedures. Sixty-four percent of sinuses were treated successfully with topical steroid drops, 14.9% remained stable, and 20.9% failed. Reasons for failure included persistent/worsening edema, scarring, or noncompliance. Ten patients (27.8%) required oral steroids and 4 patients (6%) underwent revision surgery during the study period. One case of adrenal suppression occurred.

Conclusion: Topical steroid drops are beneficial in preventing sinus ostia stenosis in the postoperative period and may decrease the propensity toward repeated oral steroid therapy. This is particularly noteworthy in this challenging cohort, largely composed of revision frontal sinus surgery patients.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Edema / drug therapy*
  • Edema / etiology
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Paranasal Sinuses*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sinusitis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucocorticoids