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Is nasal packing necessary after septoplasty? A meta-analysis


  • Potential conflict of interest: None provided.

  • Podium presentation at 2012 ARS COSM Annual Meeting on April 19–20, 2012 in San Diego, CA.

Correspondence to: Sarfaraz Banglawala, Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, McMaster University Medical Centre, 3V1 Clinic, 1200 Main St. West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5; e-mail:



Nasal packing is routinely used after septoplasty because it is believed to decrease risk of postoperative bleeding, hematomas, and adhesions. Multiple studies have shown, however, that there are numerous complications associated with nasal packing. The purpose of this work was to perform a meta-analysis on the existing literature to evaluate the role of nasal packing after septoplasty.


Two independent reviewers conducted a literature search using EMBASE, OVID, Medline, PubMed, Google scholar, Cochrane Library, and reference list review from 1966 to August 2010 to identify studies assessing nasal packing after septoplasty. All papers were reviewed for study design, results, and were assigned an Oxford level of evidence grade, Detsky score, and Methodological Index for Nonrandomized Studies (MINORS) score.


Sixteen papers were identified that met the inclusion criteria. Eleven papers were randomized control trials, 3 were prospective, and 2 were retrospective studies. Nasal packing did not show benefit in reducing postoperative bleeding, hematomas, septal perforations, adhesions, or residual deviated nasal septum. There was, however, an increase in postoperative infections. Two studies using fibrin products as nasal packing showed a decreased bleeding rate.


Nasal packing after septoplasty does not show any postoperative benefits. Fibrin products show a possibility of decreasing postoperative bleeding. Routine use of nasal packing after septoplasty is not warranted. This is the first meta-analysis conducted on this topic.

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