The impact of nasal surgery on air-conditioning of the nasal airways

Rhinology. 2009 Sep;47(3):237-41. doi: 10.4193/Rhin08.014.


Air-conditioning in the nasal passageways is one of the most important functions of the upper airways. By means of in-vivo-measurements and numerical simulation, the air-conditioning function of the nose has been extensively investigated. Less well known is the effect of nasal surgery on the nasal climate. The following study presents a summary of the effect of various rhino-surgical operations, i.e. turbinoplasty, septoplasty, septorhinoplasty, repair of septal perforations, functional and radical sinus surgery, on the air-conditioning function of the nose. Nasal and sinonasal interventions have been demonstrated to be associated with increased nasal heating and humidification when the mucosal lining is preserved. Radical interventions with reduction of turbinate tissue cause reduced nasal warming and moistening within the nasal airway, with increased risk of nasal dryness and crusting. Although the impact of the nasal cycle and the airflow distribution within the nasal cavity on nasal temperature and humidity distribution is not fully understood yet, too much widening of the nasal cavity by sinunasal interventions has carefully to be avoided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Nose / physiopathology*
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Rhinoplasty