Lateral nasal wall insufficiency is a common problem with little consensus on optimal treatment.
To assess the efficacy of radiofrequency (RF) thermotherapy for the treatment of lateral nasal wall collapse.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A prospective randomized trial comparing RF thermotherapy with bone-anchored suspension technique (BAST) for lateral nasal wall collapse in 13 patients was conducted, with recruitment occurring between March 1, 2010, and February 28, 2012, and follow-up of 1 year. The setting was a tertiary care facial plastic and reconstructive surgery clinic at an academic hospital. Eligible patients had lateral nasal wall insufficiency and met study inclusion criteria.
Participants were randomized to receive either BAST of the lateral nasal wall or RF thermotherapy to the lateral nasal wall.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Outcomes were assessed 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery using 2 subjective patient outcomes surveys (the Nasal Obstructive Symptom Evaluation and a visual analog scale) and a physician-derived assessment of lateral wall collapse.
Significant improvements in symptom scores were seen postoperatively for both treatment arms, though more consistently in the radiofrequency group. One month postoperatively, the mean (SD) drop in NOSE scores was 52.5 ± 22.2 and 51.7 ± 26 (P = .96) for the BAST and RF groups, respectively. Similar results were noted at 6 and 12 months postoperatively (56.7 ± 38.2 vs 50 ± 14.7 [P = .76] and 53.3 ± 20.2 vs 56.7 ± 18.9 [P = .84] at 6 and 12 months, respectively). No statistical difference in change in NOSE scores occurred between the 2 groups at 1, 6, or 12 months postoperatively. Likewise, the drop in VAS scores between the 2 treatment groups was similar at each time point. One month postoperatively, the mean (SD) drop in VAS scores was 5.1 ± 2.8 and 4.8 ± 2.6 (P = .90). Similar results were noted at 6 and 12 months postoperatively (5.8 ± 3.4 vs 4.9 ± 3.1 [P = .72] and 5.5 ± 3.1 vs 5.4 ± 1.3 [P = .96] at 6 and 12 months, respectively). Using a physician-derived score, significant improvement was seen in patients in the RF group at 1 month (P = .005), 6 months (P = .002), and 12 months (P = .03). For the BAST group, significant improvement was noted only at the 1-month postoperative visit (P = .007). Comparison of RF vs BAST revealed significant improvement in the RF group over the BAST group at 12 months (P = .04). The other periods revealed no significant differences between the two.
Conclusions and Relevance
Radiofrequency thermotherapy is a viable alternative option for lateral nasal wall collapse, both in terms of improvements in symptoms and physical examination, with suggested evidence for efficacy at least as good as that for bone-anchored suspension.
Level of Evidence
isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN14219489