, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 494-499

Comparison of medical and surgical treatment of nasal polyposis

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Abstract

Nasal polyposis is the end result of a variety of pathologic processes. The aims of treatment are to relieve nasal blockage, restore olfaction, and improve sinus drainage. Treating any accompanying rhinitis is also an aim, which requires that medical treatment be given to all patients with an inflammatory problem. Most forms of nasal polyp recur after treatment, whether medical or surgical. There are few direct comparisons of medical and surgical treatment in the literature. Those that exist suggest that most patients should be treated medically, with surgery reserved for patients who respond poorly. Large prospective randomized trials of surgical versus medical therapy are needed in groups of well-characterized patients to determine the optimum approach for each and to decrease relapse rates. Topical corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment. All patients with inflammatory polyps should receive topical corticosteroid treatment in the long-term, unless there is a compelling contraindication. Adverse effects of surgery are rare but can be devastating. The major side effects of medical therapy are those of oral corticosteroids, which need to be used carefully. The choice of topical corticosteroid is important because long-term use is necessary; the least absorbed should be used. No cost-benefit analysis has been undertaken in this area, although medical therapy is probably cheaper and involves less work/school absence than sinonasal surgery, even when the latter is performed with an endoscope.