Chronic rhinosinusitis and endoscopic sinus surgery

World J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Jun 28;4(1):29-32. doi: 10.1016/j.wjorl.2018.03.005. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Olfactory dysfunction is a major symptom reported by patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). Surgical treatment of this disease requires close surveillance of such dysfunction because of wide ranging implications for safety, quality of life, and impact on the flavor of foods and beverages. This review highlights key findings regarding the influences of endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) on olfactory function across the unique presentations of CRS. Such findings provide information useful for informing patients of potential complications and for obtaining informed consent prior to surgical intervention. ESS has been shown to improve olfaction across all types of CRS as assessed through quantitative testing and subjective reports. The presence of nasal polyposis (NP) and eosinophilia have been identified as predictors of significant postoperative olfactory improvement. When indicated, judicious partial resection of the middle turbinate may result in improved olfactory function without a risk of long term complication. Careful attention to the olfactory cleft and frontal sinus recess are important in limiting olfactory complications by avoiding indiscriminate disruption of olfactory epithelium. Given the chronic nature of the disease, surveillance of olfactory function in patients with CRS is a lifelong activity that will evolve as emerging technologies become available.

Keywords: Hyposmia; Nasal polyposis; Olfaction; Rhinosinusitis; Sinus surgery; Smell.

Publication types

  • Review