A comparison of septal stapler to suture closure in septoplasty: a prospective, randomized trial evaluating the effect on operative time


  • Leigh J. Sowerby MD, FRCSC,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Erin D. Wright MDCM, MEd, FRCSC

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    • Correspondence to: Erin D. Wright, MDCM, MEd, FRCSC, Alberta Sinus Centre, University of Alberta Hospital, 1E4 WMC, 8440 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7, Canada; e-mail: erin.wright@ulberta.ca

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  • Potential conflict of interest: None provided.

  • Presented orally at the ARS Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting, April 12, 2013, Orlando, FL.

  • Public clinical trial registration: http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT01541839. Comparison of a Septal Stapler to Suture Closure in Nasal Septoplasty.



Septoplasty requires coaptation of the mucosal flaps at the conclusion of the procedure; classically this is done with nasal packing. Quilting sutures provide a welcome alternative to packing, but can be time-consuming to place. A septal stapler has recently been developed that provides a rapid alternative to quilting sutures but the timesaving has not been quantified.


This study was a prospective, randomized trial comparing a septal stapler to quilting suture for coaptation of mucosal flaps in septoplasty. After meeting inclusion criteria, patients underwent septoplasty and inferior turbinoplasty. The total operative time, surgical segment times, including time for closure was recorded. Preoperative and postoperative Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) scores were recorded. A sample size of 16 was determined to detect a difference of 5 minutes in closure time.


A total of 16 patients were enrolled in the study. The mean time for closure with septal stapler was 35 ± 22 seconds vs 7 minutes ± 1 minute 10 seconds for suture closure (p < 0.0001). The mean total operative time using the septal stapler was 28 minutes ± 6 minutes whereas 43 minutes ± 13 minutes was required for suture (p = 0.014). No difference in postoperative complications or mucosal healing was seen; preoperative and postoperative improvement in NOSE scores was comparable.


Coaptation of the mucosal flaps in septoplasty with a septal stapler affords a timesaving in the operating room with no difference in operative outcome.