Osteomyelitis after radiofrequency turbinoplasty

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2019 May 16;139(9). doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.18.0843. Print 2019 May 28.
[Article in Norwegian, English]


Background: Osteomyelitis was determined in two patients following radiofrequency turbinoplasty. This is a rare complication of the procedure, and we have found no other case reports concerning osteomyelitis as a specific complication of radiofrequency turbinoplasty.

Case presentation: Two patients underwent radiofrequency turbinoplasty. Postoperatively they presented with clinical features such as a faecal smell in the nose, crusting and local necrosis of the inferior turbinates, which led to the clinical and histological diagnosis of osteomyelitis. The infections were polymicrobial, as verified by bacterial growth in the nasal biopsies. They were treated with surgical debridement, local and systemic antibiotics and nasal saline irrigation.

Interpretation: The patients underwent surgery that involved the use of more insertion channels than recommended by the distributor of the surgical equipment, and local anaesthesia included adrenaline. These two factors may well have caused or increased the likelihood of developing osteomyelitis. One patient has an open nose giving rise to no concern after treatment; the other patient has developed empty nose syndrome on the right side. We report these cases in order to raise and aid awareness regarding this possible complication of radiofrequency turbinoplasty.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy
  • Osteomyelitis / etiology*
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Osteomyelitis / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Radiofrequency Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Radiofrequency Therapy* / methods
  • Rhinoplasty* / adverse effects
  • Rhinoplasty* / methods
  • Turbinates / surgery*