| September 20,
Surgery and Care Combo Alleviates
Treatment Relieves Debilitating Pain and Returns Sufferers
to Normal Quality of Life
PA) - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine have found that surgery combined
with postoperative care can significantly improve the
quality of life for the hundreds of thousands nationally
who suffer from chronic sinusitis.
The results of the study, entitled Long-term Quality
of Life Measures Following Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
(FESS) are to be presented Sept. 21 at the
annual meeting of the American Rhinologic Society in
San Diego, Cal. The researchers have concluded that
FESS, a surgery introduced to this country in 1985 by
David W. Kennedy, MD, Chairman of Penn's Department
of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, improves
quality of life to normal levels within three years.
Sinusitis, a common and sometimes chronic and debilitating
condition, causes severe inflammation of the membrane
in one or more of the sinus cavities. Sinusitis affects
approximately 30-35 million people a year, with indirect
costs estimated to be approximately $6 billion.
Each year, approximately 250,000 surgeries are performed
to alleviate the condition. When severe and chronic,
it can enormously affect the quality of life, Kennedy,
a co-author of the study, says.
"Sinusitis has been demonstrated to have a greater
impact on certain aspects of quality of life than such
conditions as asthma, angina, chronic pulmonary disease
and chronic lower back pain; all of which are problems
commonly thought of as more debilitating," explains
The researchers' study confirms what Kennedy has long
suspected, that FESS can be a great help to those suffering
from chronic sinusitis. "The majority of those
with sinusitis do not have a crippling disease, but
there is an under-recognized minority for whom the condition
has a major life impact," says Kennedy. "There
hasn't been a report which has highlighted the extent
to which the condition gets better after FESS."
The study utilized a common survey of 36 questions for
patients to rate their quality of life. Patients with
chronic sinusitis reported significant differences in
the areas of bodily pain, general health, social function,
vitality and mental health when compared to those without
the condition. Following surgery and postoperative therapy,
patients reported a return to normal in these areas.
Calling the results "very significant," Kennedy
hails FESS as a boon for both patients and the state
of health-care nationally. "This shows that surgery
can have patients with the most chronic health care
problem in the United States get back to normal within
David W. Kennedy, MD, is also vice dean for professional
services and a senior vice president at the University
of Pennsylvania Health System.
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