The person most responsible for shedding light on this topic was retired surgeon Dr. Eugene Kerns of Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. He is credited for coining the term Empty Nose Syndrome.
It was after two of his ENS patients committed suicide that he decided to devote more time to this unknown misunderstood condition. Both patients led normal active lives prior to their turbinate surgeries with no history of mental illness. In 2000 Dr. Kerns gave a taped lecture on Empty Nose Syndrome to fellow rhinologists, Dr. Kern tells his audience that the nasal mucosa “is the organ of the nose.” He outlines the four main function of this organ: “Olfaction, defense, respiration, and cosmesis.” ‘Please think of it as an organ system, just as you think of the lungs, the liver…the kidneys, as organ systems.” He points out that his Empty Nose Syndrome patients lack cilia, lack functioning mucosa. “When we remove functioning tissue what happens?” he asks. “When we destroy mucosa…these respiratory functions and defensive functions can be significantly compromised. When we convert a nose to a mouth….it’s not aerodynamically efficient…wide open noses do not function…” “How much tissue can you remove and still have normal function? We know you can remove probably eighty to ninety percent of a liver and still have normal liver function. You can remove a kidney…and have the second kidney and still have normal function. How much nose can be removed? I don’t think we know that.”
He says it took about six years, on average, following surgery, for the residual tissue of the nose to fail, in his Empty Nose Syndrome patients.
In past decade Dr. Steven Houser has been recognized as a pioneer in the field offering surgical acellular dermal implant (alloderm) and injectable liquid alloderm (cymetra) for ENS. Alloderm implants have already been implanted successfully for a few years now in a small but growing number of ENS patients. At four years follow-up, results seem stable and encouraging. It seems that Alloderm implants can't fully cure ENS but can help alleviate the symptoms with various degrees of success, depending on the individual condition of each patient. It is difficult or virtually impossible to use Cymetra on its own to achieve a large volume implant, but it can be used successfully to further augment prior Alloderm implants, thus perfecting the initial result achieved with regular Alloderm.
Does the Method of Inferior Turbinate Surgery Affect the
Poster nose1 on ENS forums has stated even a smaller amount of tissue being removed in such a way that leaves the mucosa damaged can lead to severe ENS symptoms. For example, turbinates that have been cauterized can result in quite severe ENS symptoms.
The term Empty Nose Syndrome fits descriptively well with those who have a structural turbinate deficit. But for those with nasal mucosa dysfunction and little to no structural deficit perhaps a more fitting term would be Nasal Mucosa Dysfunctional Syndrome (NMDS), if I may be so bold to coin a condition. Some who have had their turbinates excised will more likely have a combination of the two. The degree of how much mucosa is damaged/removed will likely coincide with the severity of one's symptoms. In regards to the Inferior Turbinate there's another factor at play. In partial resectioning of the I.T. resectioning of the anterior portion is much more likely to result in ENS then resectioning of the posterior portion of the I.T. I myself can testify to this because my first turbinate surgery consisted of lateral and posterior excision of the I.T's. This did not cause me any ENS. However after my anterior portion was removed in another surgery years later i started to develop some of the symptoms associated with ENS. However I should point out a caveat here is that almost all my left I.T. is now missing. I don't have all the symptoms likely b/c my anterior portion was excised submucosally. However inbetween those two surgeries I had underwent a cauterization procedure. Note: I also did not experience ENS symptoms after my cautery of the I.T's where I then had partial lateral anterior I.T's and medial flap of the mucosa which was rolled up to form a smaller medial turbinate performed by the surgeon who performed my first turbinectomy.
Another treatment option now being explored for reducing ENS symptoms is PRP or PRL injections into the nasal cavity.
PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma)
Blood is taken from your body and put in a centrifuge. In the centrifuge the blood platelets will be separated. These platelets have great healing abilities which also work in natural wound healing. The out-coming concentrate can be injected to the damaged tissue. The platelets collected in PRP are activated by the addition of thrombin and calcium chloride, which induces the release of these factors from alpha granules.. The growth factors and other cytokines present in PRP include:
- platelet-derived growth factor
- transforming growth factor beta
- fibroblast growth factor
- insulin-like growth factor 1
- insulin-like growth factor 2
- vascular endothelial growth factor
- epidermal growth factor
- Interleukin 8
- keratinocyte growth factor
- connective tissue growth factor
The PRP might bring the nasal mucosa to a healthier level.
PRL (Platelet-Rich Lipotransfer)
PRL is combining PRP with a lipotransfer.
A lipotransfer is taking your own fat and placing it to another part of your body. The fat contains adult stem cells, which showed good regenerative effects. The stem cells in the fat can be enriched.
Lipotransfers are used for example in breast augmentation/ reconstruction, smoothening wrinkes and other tissue defects.
Doctors, who treat ENS with PRP/ PRL
Prof. Valerio Cervelli, Italy
Dr. Enrico Donde, Italy
Dr. Lino di Rienzo Businco, Italy
Dr. Robert Bodlaj, Germany
PRP & ACell Implants now available at US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care & Research
The newly created US Institute for Advanced Sinus Care & Research is now offering platelet-rich plasma injections combined with acellular dermis implants for patients with Empty Nose Syndrome. The Institute is physically located in Columbus Ohio. Dr. Subinoy Das, former Director of Sinus Surgery at The Ohio State University, Audit Chair and Fellow of the American Rhinologic Society, and winner of the 2013 Fowler Award for the Top Basic Science Research Project in Otolaryngology is the new Medical Director. The Institute collaborates with leading otolaryngologists throughout the
world in an effort to provide patients with advanced and rare sinus diseases with cutting edge therapies.
Hyaluronic acid gel in the treatment of empty nose syndrome.
Because of its simplicity, safety, and fairly good, but impermanent clinical effects, HA injections appear to be worth considering in less severe forms of ENS. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21679513
Study of inferior turbinate reconstruction with Medpor for the treatment of empty nose syndrome.
CONCLUSION: The reconstruction of inferior turbinate with Medpor is a new promising approach to treat patients with empty nose syndrome.N.B. My understanding is that medpor is difficult to remove if need be since it incorporates itself with other surrounding tissue's. Therefore one should be skeptical to this approach using medpor, silastic sheets (silicone) or any unnatural products inside the nose.
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