A new laser procedure that requires only local anesthetic is effective in treating nasal passageway obstructions associated with a deviated nasal septum, according to an article in the July-September issue of The Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The procedure uses heat generated by a laser to soften cartilage abnormalities so that they can be flattened or shaped to clear the nasal passages.
The septum is the cartilage wall that divides and separates the nostrils. People who have a deviated septum may have a hole in the septum, or other malformations that can block the nasal passageways and can cause varying degrees of difficulty with breathing. Traditional surgery to solve these problems uses a scalpel to cut away flaps inside the nose and reshape the cartilage manually. Stitches are needed to close the surgical wounds. The procedure is costly and the patient may need time off from work to recover. The new procedure uses a laser to heat the malformations until they are soft enough to be pressed or formed so that they arent blocking the nasal passageways.
Yuri Ovchinnikov, M.D., of Moscow State University, Russia, and colleagues used the laser procedure on 110 patients between 11 years old and 66 years old. Patients were followed up for an average of 18 months.
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