Laser cautery of the inferior turbinates for the treatment of rhinitis has been shown to be as effective as sub-mucosal diathermy in the short-term and to produce less morbidity. However, the long-term effects are unknown. A cohort of patients who were treated by either of these methods were reviewed 1 year after treatment. Subjective and objective measurements of airway obstruction were performed using a linear analogue scale and a nasal peak inspiratory flowmeter. The results obtained were compared with those recorded pre-operatively, 3 days post-operatively and 6 days post-operatively.
In contrast to the results of sub-mucous diathermy of the inferior turbinates for the treatment of rhinitis, the reduction in subjective nasal airway obstruction obtained by laser cautery to the inferior turbinates is maintained 1 year after surgery.
Neither method of turbinate reduction was associated with a sustained objective improvement in nasal airway patency as measured by peak nasal inspiratory flow rate determinations.