Traditional endonasal and microscopic sinus surgery complications versus endoscopic sinus surgery complications: a meta-analysis

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Mar;269(3):721-9. doi: 10.1007/s00405-011-1744-2. Epub 2011 Oct 9.


The aim of this study was to compare the incidence of complications of endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) to the incidence of complications of traditional and microscopic sinus surgery. A meta-analysis was carried out on 28 series of patients (a total of 13,405) who had undergone ESS, 8 series of patients (3,887 in total) who had undergone traditional endonasal sinus surgery and 7 series of patients (1,630 in total) who had undergone microscopic sinus surgery. The authors used the Bayesian inference package WinBUGS operating from within the statistical computer program R (version 2.7.1). Major complications had a higher incidence after traditional sinus surgery than ESS but this fact did not cause a significant statistical difference, whereas microscopic surgery had significantly more complications than ESS (p < 0.05). Carrying out our meta-analytic study, comparing major and minor complications of endonasal surgical approaches, was very difficult due to several methodological biases of data extraction and evaluation from studies concerning a broad timespan. Regarding major complications, we only found a significant statistical difference (p < 0.05) between the endoscopic (1%) and the microscopic methods (2.0%), but, if we had analyzed the data considering the natural learning curve of the latest ESS surgical approach, and if we had not considered the results produced in the first 10 years (1988-1998) concerning ESS in our meta-analysis, we would have found a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) between the endoscopic (0.4%) and the traditional (1.1%) approach as well.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors