Aerodynamic Effects of Inferior Turbinate Reduction: Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation | Facial Plastic Surgery | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Article
December 2005

Aerodynamic Effects of Inferior Turbinate Reduction: Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Otolaryngology, Fallon Clinic, Worcester, Mass (Dr Wexler); and CIIT Centers for Health Research, Research Triangle Park, NC (Drs Segal and Kimbell).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005;131(12):1102-1107. doi:10.1001/archotol.131.12.1102

Objective  To investigate the aerodynamic consequences of conservative unilateral inferior turbinate reduction using computational fluid dynamics methods to accomplish detailed nasal airflow simulations.

Design  A high-resolution, finite-element mesh of the nasal airway was constructed from magnetic resonance imaging data of a healthy man. Steady-state, inspiratory airflow simulations were conducted at 15 L/min using the techniques of computational fluid dynamics

Intervention  Circumferential removal of 2 mm of soft tissue bulk along the length of the left inferior turbinate was modeled.

Main Outcome Measures  Nasal airflow distribution and pressure profiles were computed before and after simulated left inferior turbinate reduction.

Results  Simulated inferior turbinate reduction resulted in a broad reduction of pressure along the nasal airway, including the regions distant from the inferior turbinate vicinity. In contrast, relative airflow changes were regional: airflow was minimally affected in the valve region, increased in the lower portion of the middle and posterior nose, and decreased dorsally.

Conclusion  Use of computational fluid dynamics methods should help elucidate the aerodynamic significance of specific surgical interventions and refine surgical approaches to the nasal airway.