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Salvage Frontal Sinus Surgery: The Endoscopic Modified Lothrop Procedure


  • Peter John Wormald MD, FRACS, FRCS (ED), FCS (SA)

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Surgery, Section of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Adelaide and Flinders Universities, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
    • Peter John Wormald, MD, FRACS, FRCS (ED), FCS (SA), Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville South, 5011 South Australia.
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Objectives/Hypothesis Until recent years, the osteoplastic flap with frontal sinus obliteration has been the gold standard for recalcitrant frontal sinusitis. The present series evaluated the role of the endoscopic modified Lothrop procedure, which has recently been advocated as an alternative.

Study Design Prospective non-randomized interventional case series.

Methods The study prospectively assessed 83 consecutive patients who underwent endoscopic modified Lothrop procedure. The mean age was 52.4 years (SD = 13.6 y) with a male-to-female ratio of 3:1. Patients had a mean of six previous sinus surgical procedures with 17 patients having undergone previous frontal sinus obliteration with mucocele formation. Seventy-six patients (91%) had frontal pain or headache as their primary presenting symptom, with 72 having nasal discharge. There were 14 patients who presented with 17 complications of frontal sinus disease. There were eight erosions of the posterior table of the frontal sinus with extension of the mucocele intracranially, seven orbital complications, and one cerebrospinal fluid leak. Twenty-four patients (30%) had fungus cultured from their sinuses at the time of surgery.

Results Six of the 83 patients (7%) developed frontal ostium stenosis resulting in a 93% primary success rate after an average follow-up of 21.9 months (SD = 6.1 mo). These patients all underwent a revision modified Lothrop procedure and had a patent frontal ostium at their last review. Twenty-one patients (25%) developed recurrent symptoms, which were managed medically. Of these 21 patients, 9 with previously diagnosed fungal sinusitis developed mucosal changes again in their frontal sinuses, but their ostia have remained patent. Four patients have had recurrent infections in the frontal sinuses, and three patients with aspirin-sensitive asthma and polyps have developed polyps again in their frontal sinuses. Five patients continued to have frontal pain without radiological evidence of further frontal disease. No patients required an osteoplastic flap procedure.

Conclusion The endoscopic Lothrop procedure is a successful short-term management option for recalcitrant and complicated frontal sinusitis caused by a wide range of diseases.

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