The data from 140 consecutive patients who had undergone computerized tomography (CT) as part of their investigation for nasal symptoms, and who had been examined by one surgeon, were retrospectively reviewed. The history, rhinoscopic findings, endoscopic findings, changes on CT and final diagnosis were noted. Endoscopy was found to identify more disease than rhinoscopy (85% versus 74%); and a similar picture was seen when combining history with either endoscopy or rhinoscopy. Endoscopic examination was found to have a sensitivity of 84% and a specificity of 92%. In 25 (18%) patients endoscopy contributed positively towards a correct diagnosis, but in 11 (8.0%) there were false positive findings. CT findings led to a re-evaluation of the diagnosis and alteration of management of these 11 individuals who had false positive endoscopic findings. History alone led to an accurate diagnosis in 84% of patients with inflammatory nasal conditions. The role of the endoscope is best considered as ‘fine tuning’; and supplementary to a detailed history.