A study published in the September/October issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery shows that plastic surgery may boost airway function in people with severe nasal obstructions, including:

• septal deviation, in which the wall separating the nasal passages is off-center;

• valve insufficiency, which is caused by problems with cartilage; and

• turbinate hypertrophy, where air flow is blocked by swollen areas inside the nose.

The study covered 41 patients with severe nasal obstructions who underwent functional rhinoplasty at the University of Washington School of Medicine’s Cosmetic Surgery Center in Seattle. The patients completed questionnaires about the severity of their nasal obstructions before and after having surgery. Based on their answers, the patients were given a severity score of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more severe nasal obstructions.

The researchers found that the severity scores decreased significantly after surgery—from 58 to just 16—after an average of 227 days.

[www.healthday.com, September 18, 2006]