Effect of Radiofrequency Neurolysis on the Symptoms of Chronic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J. Pablo Stolovitzky, Randall A. Ow, Stacey L. Silvers, Nadim B. Bikhazi, Curtis D. Johnson, Masayoshi Takashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the safety and efficacy of temperature-controlled radiofrequency (RF) neurolysis of the posterior nasal nerve (PNN) area for the treatment of chronic rhinitis. Study Design: A multicenter, prospective, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial, in which the control arm underwent a sham procedure. Setting: Sixteen otolaryngology centers. Methods: Patients with 24-hour reflective Total Nasal Symptom Score (rTNSS) ≥6, including moderate to severe rhinorrhea and mild to severe congestion, were randomized 2:1 to active treatment of the posterior nasal nerve area with a temperature-controlled RF device or a sham procedure, with no RF energy delivery. The stylus was applied bilaterally to nonoverlapping areas of the posterior middle meatus and posterior inferior turbinate in each nostril in the region of the PNN. The primary endpoint was responder rate at 3 months, where a response was defined as ≥30% improvement (decrease) in rTNSS from baseline. Results: Patients had a mean baseline rTNSS of 8.3 (95% CI, 7.9-8.7) and 8.2 (95% CI, 7.6-8.8) (P =.797) in the active treatment (n = 77) and sham control (n = 39) arms, respectively. At 3 months, responder rate was significantly higher in the active treatment arm: 67.5% (95% CI, 55.9%-77.8%) vs 41.0% (95% CI, 25.6%-57.9%) (P =.009). The active treatment arm had a significantly greater decrease in rTNSS (mean, −3.6 [95% CI, −4.2 to −3.0] vs −2.2 [95% CI, −3.2 to −1.3]) (P =.013). Three adverse events related to the device/procedure were reported, and all resolved. Conclusion: This randomized controlled trial showed temperature-controlled neurolysis of the PNN area is free from significant adverse events and superior to a sham procedure in decreasing the symptom burden of chronic rhinitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2473974X211041124
JournalOTO Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 17 2021


  • congestion
  • neurolysis
  • posterior nasal nerve
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • rhinitis
  • rhinorrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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