European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 271, Issue 1, pp 87–92 | Cite as

Intranasal trigeminal sensitivity: measurements before and after nasal surgery

  • M. Scheibe
  • S. Schulze
  • C. A. Mueller
  • B. Schuster
  • Thomas HummelEmail author


Nasal surgeries constitute an extensive manipulation of the nasal mucosa and therefore of structures related to trigeminal and olfactory sensitivity. While olfactory changes due to nasal surgery are relatively well investigated, there are only very few studies regarding trigeminal sensitivity. Aim of the present study was to investigate sensory changes after nasal surgery with special regard to the trigeminal sensitivity. In 38 patients prior to and around 12 weeks after nasal surgery the following psychophysical measures were performed: odor identification, odor discrimination, phenyl ethyl alcohol odor threshold, sensitivity to trigeminal stimuli, trigeminal detection thresholds and trigeminal pain thresholds. These results were compared to those of a control group (43 healthy volunteers). Psychophysical olfactory and trigeminal testing showed no major changes in patients after surgery compared to the control group. Independent from the time of measurement higher trigeminal detection thresholds were found in patients compared to healthy subjects, meaning that trigeminal thresholds were already increased before surgery. The present study revealed a decreased trigeminal sensitivity in patients already before surgery. It may be hypothesized that patients also exhibit a decreased sensitivity for nasal airflow, which may also contribute to the patients’ impression of impaired nasal breathing.


Surgery Trigeminal sensitivity Smell Nose Airflow 



We would like to thank Dr. Ioannis Charalampakis for his helpful comments on the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest

There are no financial disclosures from any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Scheibe
    • 1
  • S. Schulze
    • 1
  • C. A. Mueller
    • 2
  • B. Schuster
    • 1
  • Thomas Hummel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Smell and Taste ClinicUniversity of Dresden Medical SchoolDresdenGermany
  2. 2.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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