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Olfactory improvement after endoscopic sinus surgery

Rudmik, Lukea; Smith, Timothy L.b

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head & Neck Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e32834dfb3d

Purpose of review: Olfactory dysfunction is a common complaint in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). The purpose of this article is to review the current evidence on the impact of endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) on CRS-related olfactory dysfunction.

Recent findings: The recent literature suggests that olfactory outcomes after ESS are challenging to predict. Some evidence supports a positive impact of ESS on improving olfactory outcomes in patients with preoperative nasal polyposis and anosmia. However, despite improvements in smell, most of these patients remain with severe hyposmia. One study suggests ESS has no impact on olfactory outcomes.

Summary: CRS-related olfactory dysfunction is a complex clinical scenario and it is challenging to predict improvement following ESS. CRS patients with anosmia and nasal polyposis preoperatively may have a higher likelihood of olfactory improvement following ESS.

Author Information

aDivision of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

bDivision of Rhinology and Sinus Surgery, Oregon Sinus Center, Department of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA

Correspondence to Timothy L. Smith, MD, MPH, Division of Rhinology and Sinus Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd PV-01, Portland, OR 97239, USA. Fax: +1 503 494 4631; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.