Phototherapy for chronic rhinosinusitis

Lasers Surg Med. 2011 Mar;43(3):187-91. doi: 10.1002/lsm.21042. Epub 2011 Feb 2.


Objectives: Near-infrared laser illumination (NILI), with or without photo-activated (PA) agents, has bactericidal and wound healing promoting effects. NILI may have a potential role managing chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS).

Methods: A prospective randomized study with 23 symptomatic post-surgical CRS patients with positive cultures was conducted. Two groups (GR1 and GR2) were treated with NILI. Objective nasal endoscopic scoring (NES) was elaborated. GR1 was treated with a 940 nm laser, while GR2 was treated with a topical PA agent, indocyanine-green, followed with 810 nm laser. SNOT20 scores, NES, and cultures were obtained prior to illumination. Saccharin test was performed 1 week following treatment.

Results: Some cultures remained positive through treatment, with Staph. aureus predominating. Both therapy arms demonstrated clinical efficacy. The SNOT20 score change was 0.9, 0.8 for GR1 and GR2, respectively (P < 0.05). Improvement (P < 0.05) was observed based on NES. No significant difference was observed between two treatment groups. All passed the saccharin test. Therapeutic effect was sustained for a minimum of 2 months. Side effects were minimal.

Conclusions: NILI was objectively and subjectively beneficial in managing CRS, safe, reproducible, sustained and appeared not to interfere with ciliary motility. CRS exacerbation was avoided without using antibiotics or steroids.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green / therapeutic use*
  • Lasers, Semiconductor / therapeutic use*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis / drug therapy*
  • Rhinitis / microbiology
  • Rhinitis / radiotherapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy*
  • Sinusitis / microbiology
  • Sinusitis / radiotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Indocyanine Green