Efficacy of radiofrequency turbinate reduction: evaluation by computed tomography and acoustic rhinometry

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Aug;41(4):274-81.


Background: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the inferior turbinates is a popular surgical intervention that aims to reduce turbinate volume. However, in a few studies, the amount of volume loss was analyzed objectively.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of RFA on the inferior turbinate by comparing its volume before and 6 weeks after surgery via computed tomography (CT) and the change in minimal cross-sectional areas (MCAs) via acoustic rhinometry objectively.

Methods: Eighteen patients who underwent RFA with the diagnosis of isolated bilateral inferior turbinate hypertrophy were enrolled in the study. All patients were evaluated pre- and postoperatively with paranasal CT and acoustic rhinometry quantitatively for the assessment of inferior turbinate volume decrement and nasal cavity volume increment. Also, the subjective relief of obstructive symptoms was assessed with a visual analogue scale.

Results: There were significant reductions in volume for both right and left turbinates in the tomographic evaluation (p = .007 and .004, respectively). Acoustic rhinometry revealed nonsignificant increments for both MCA1 and MCA2 values except MCA2 of the right side. We also indicated a statistically significant correlation between the mean volume reduction in CT and improvement in mean MCA2 volume (2 to 5 cm from the nostril) obtained from acoustic rhinometric data in 36 turbinates (r = .337, p = .044).

Conclusion: We showed that the use of RFA was highly effective in both reducing turbinate volume (demonstrated by radiologic findings and rhinometric analysis) and improving obstructive symptoms in patients with an isolated inferior turbinate.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Nasal Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Nasal Obstruction / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rhinometry, Acoustic / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Turbinates / surgery*
  • Young Adult