Olfaction in Endoscopic Sinus and Skull Base Surgery

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2015 Oct;48(5):795-804. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2015.05.007. Epub 2015 Jun 24.


Olfactory dysfunction is a common complaint for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis, because smell loss decreases a patient's quality of life. Smell loss is caused by obstruction from polyps, nasal discharge, and mucosal edema, as well as inflammatory changes within the olfactory epithelium. Addressing olfaction before endoscopic sinus and skull base surgery is important in order to set postoperative expectations, because an improvement in smell is difficult to predict. Several commercially available olfactory testing measures are available and can easily be administered in clinic. During surgery, careful dissection within the olfactory cleft is recommended in order to optimize postoperative olfactory function.

Keywords: Anosmia; Endoscopic sinus surgery; Hyposmia; Olfaction; Skull base; Smell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Endoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Olfaction Disorders / etiology*
  • Paranasal Sinuses / surgery*
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis / therapy
  • Sinusitis / therapy
  • Skull Base / surgery*
  • Smell / physiology*