What is the prognosis of nasal polyps?

Updated: Oct 25, 2019
  • Author: John E McClay, MD; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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No significant mortality is associated with nasal polyposis. Morbidity is usually associated with altered quality of life, nasal obstruction, anosmia, chronic sinusitis, headaches, snoring, and postnasal drainage. In certain situations, nasal polyps can alter the craniofacial skeleton because unremoved polyps can extend intracranially and into the orbital vaults.

Polyposis recurrence is common following treatment with medical or surgical therapy if multiple benign polyps are present (see Treatment, Surgical Care). Single large polyps (eg, antral-choanal polyps) are less likely to recur. 

Endoscopic sinus surgery appears to improve both olfaction and quality of life in chronic rhinosinusitis patients with nasal polyps. [5, 6]  In a study of 58 pediatric patients (< 18 years) with antrochoanal polyps who were treated with functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS), Pagella et al reported a recurrence rate of 20.5%. [7]

The literature contains sparse data comparing treatments. Galluzzi et al performed a systematic review (N = 285) aimed at evaluating recurrence rates after different surgical procedures used to treat antrochoanal polyps in children, including FESS, a combined approach (FESS with a transcanine sinusoscopy or mini Caldwell-Luc procedure), the Caldwell-Luc procedure, and simple polypectomy. [8]  Recurrence rates were as follows:

  • All types of surgery - 15%
  • FESS - 17.7%
  • Combined approach - 0%
  • Caldwell-Luc procedure - 9.1%
  • Simple polypectomy - 50%

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