May 7 (HealthDay News) -- A comprehensive analysis of previous studies concludes that endoscopic surgery truly helps chronic sinus sufferers find relief from the pain and other irritating symptoms of their nasal condition.
An examination of 21 past investigations involving 2,070 people with chronic rhinosinusitis, or inflammation of the sinus cavities, found that a majority of patients experienced less facial pain and nasal stuffiness and fewer headaches following endoscopic surgery to improve drainage of the nasal cavities. Nearly half of these patients also reported improved nasal drainage and ability to smell after the common procedure done on about 200,000 people a year.
This relief also did not diminish over time, a possible drawback some smaller studies in the nasal surgery had suggested.
"This kind of surgery is indeed beneficial to patients when standard medical treatment doesn't resolve the condition," lead investigator Dr. Alexander C. Chester, a physician and clinical professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, said in a school news release.
"Our findings offer reassurance that, with minor exceptions, individual symptoms usually improve substantially and similarly following surgery," he said.
Whether endoscopic surgery is more effective than the use of medications to alleviate sinusitis, though, is not examined in the study, which is published in the May issue of Otolaryngology -- Head Neck Surgery.
"Only a randomized, controlled clinical trial testing surgery and medical therapy could prove that point," Chester said.
SOURCE: Georgetown University Medical Center, news release, May 1, 2009