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December 1991

Successful Treatment of Phantosmia With Preservation of Olfaction

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Drs Leopold and Wright), Anatomy and Cell Biology (Dr Schwob), Physiology (Drs Youngentob, Hornung, and Mozell), and the Clinical Olfactory Research Center (Drs Leopold, Schwob, Youngentob, Hornung, Wright, and Mozell), State University of New York Health Science Center, Syracuse. Dr Leopold is now with the Francis Scott Key Medical Center, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(12):1402-1406. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870240094016

• A 26-year-old woman had an 8-year history of phantosmia in her left nostril. The phantosmia could be eliminated by nostril occlusion or cocainization of the olfactory epithelium on the involved side. Because her symptoms and testing suggested a peripheral problem, a full-thickness "plug" of olfactory epithelium from under the cribriform plate (including all the fila olfactoria) was excised. At 5 weeks postoperatively, the phantosmia was completely gone, and her olfactory ability had returned to preoperative levels. Either the removal of abnormal peripheral olfactory neurons from the nose or the interruption of incoming signals to the olfactory bulb eliminated the phantosmia. This form of therapy for phantosmia offers an alternative to more radical procedures such as olfactory bulbectomy and may offer a significant sparing of olfactory ability.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117:1402-1406)