Improvement of Olfaction after Endoscopic Sinus Surgery in Smokers and Nonsmokers

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The aim of this prospective study was to examine the short-term benefit of endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) on the olfactory function of patients operated on for nasal polyposis. We also studied the predictive value of smoking for the recovery of the olfactory function in these patients.


We studied 116 patients with nasal polyposis who underwent ESS. Olfactory testing was performed with the Sniffin' Sticks test before operation and 1, 3, and 6 months after operation.


All patients achieved a statistically significant stepwise increment of all of the indices of olfactory function over time. The composite threshold-discrimination-identification score was lower in smokers than in nonsmokers in all testing sessions, but none of these differences reached statistical significance. After adjustment for preoperative olfactory measures and all other potential confounders, the effect of smoking on the 6-month postoperative measurement was not significant. However, we did find a statistically significant adverse effect of the quantity of smoking on the olfactory threshold scores.


Both smokers and nonsmokers achieve a highly significant improvement on their olfactory function from ESS. Although smoking is not a major predictive factor for the short-term outcome of the olfactory function after ESS, a greater quantity of smoking may have an effect on the 6-month postoperative odor thresholds.

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